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Implications of Phuket’s aging population

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Implications of Phuket’s aging population | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Financial constraints and dramatic changes in employment numbers are expected to hit Phuket over the next 15 years, as an increasing percentage of the province’s population grows old.

The Phuket Statistical Office estimates about 34,000 out of the 379,000 registered residents across the province are aged 60 years or older. That’s 9.2 per cent of the island’s population, and the percentage is growing annually and changing the economic outlook of the province.

Thailand as a whole is growing older. According to the Office of National Economic and Social Development Board, nearly one-third of the Kingdom’s population will be over 60 years old by 2031.

The Thailand Research Fund organized a forum in Phuket last month addressing the ramifications of the demographic shift and it’s economic implications. At the forum, experts presented ways for the province to prepare for the eventual societal shift and to cushion the economic impact.

“This does not mean that the elderly population is growing, but instead that the percentage of young people at work is shrinking,” said Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong last month.

With the ratio of young working people decreasing and the number of older retirees increasing, Mr Prajin said it is imperative for the Thai economy to find a way to allow the elderly to continue contributing to society and the economy.

Thailand’s aging population is a delicate political issue, with retirees comprising some 15 per cent of the country’s population, they represent a substantial political bloc, should they galvanize. Recent proposals by central government officials to raise the retirement age from 60 have been shot down in seeming deference to that power, even as the National Council for Peace and Order considers eliminating government payouts to retirees that earn 9,000 baht a month or more.

Estimations from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics show that the proposal to extend the mandatory retirement age would only stall the economic impact of the retired population by about ten years.

At the forum in Phuket, Chulalongkorn University Dean Worawet Suwanrada said that instead of kicking the proverbial can down the road, the government and private sector need to integrate retirees into the national economy, particularly those who are dependent on government payouts of 600 to 1,000 baht per month.

“The first challenge Thailand has to tackle is how to ensure the quality of life for the elderly,” Mr Worawet said. “The second challenge is to ensure economic vibrancy in the aged community, while the third is to prevent and reduce the number of elderly who are being abandoned.”

Surveys revealed that many of Thailand’s 7.8 million retirees do still work, operating small, home-owned businesses such as shops and restaurants.

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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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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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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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