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Hotels and shops plead for end to martial law

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Hotels and shops plead for end to martial law | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Hotels and shopping malls in Bangkok are pushing for the lifting of martial law before the high season arrives in the hope that tourists and business travellers will come back to the capital.

Prakit Chinamourphong, an ex-president and adviser to the Thai Hotels Association, said that if the junta ended martial law, the hotel and travel business would quickly return to normal and should jump dramatically during the peak tourism season from October to April.

Bangkok hotels are running only 40-50 per cent full this month, or 10-20 percentage points lower than a year ago. Pattaya hotels are also facing a big drop in guests and are as empty as those in Bangkok.

Occupancy at hotels in Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui is 80 per cent and 70 per cent in Chiang Mai. Properties in all major visitor destinations except Pattaya are busier this month.

“The travel business in Bangkok was hit on May 22 when the military took power as many visitors shifted to the provinces. Many meetings and conferences were relocated to other countries,” Prakit said.

Many hotels in the capital have been struggling over the past two months in the wake of the political changeover from democratic to military rule. Business travellers are especially weary and still fear for their security and safety.

Although the Foreign Ministry Affairs is working to restore confidence, business organizations are still unsure about planning an event or meeting in the country. However, several large events are proceeding as scheduled.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau last week said the number of business travellers this year might be no greater than last year, though revenue may increase.

Chai Srivikorn, president of the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association, also called on the junta to normalize the peace and order situation as soon as possible to draw visitors and business back to Thailand.

Hotels and shopping malls in central Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong area are limping because of the disappearance of leisure travellers and businesspeople.

“The political chaos has chased business away from Bangkok, while tourists flocked to the provinces. We have already suffered for more than two months,” he said.

About 4,000 hotel rooms and much meeting space in Ratchaprasong are hurting from a lack of guests. Business travellers account for 15-20 per cent of hotel revenue, while tourists contribute 40 per cent of revenue to shops.

The association called on the government to assure tourists that they would be safe and secure if martial law remained. It also has its own plans to launch major monthly activities to lure tourists and businesspeople back, including a Christmas celebration and a New Year’s countdown party.

It will also construct a skywalk linking Ratchaprasong with shopping complexes in Pratunam.

— The Nation

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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