Connect with us

Business

Last Call – Digging my way down to China

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Last Call – Digging my way down to China | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Growing up in California, one of my favorite pre-teen past times was digging holes. Not just holes but dark inviting spaces with a purpose. A fort, or looking for buried Aztec treasure, putting time capsules away to be dug up after people are weekending on Mars or the sadness of burying a demised goldfish or two. We never quite got around to Jimmy Hoffa, but that’s another story.

Three or four weeks ago we started to assemble our mid-year Phuket update, which comes out bi-annually and covers the island’s tourism industry. Within hours of commencing, my head starts to swell up from looking at so many numbers. Even Alice and the Queen of Hearts couldn’t make sense of this journey down the rabbit hole.

This year I managed to fall straight down the damn thing, deeper and deeper I plunged without even a flashlight to show me the way. Suddenly, I broke through the surface and came up into the light of day next to Yao Ming? Or at least one very tall Chinese basketball player who was shooting hoops. My mind caught up with my Chuck Taylor sneakers and a light bulb flicked on in my head like a nuclear explosion.

Here I was in China but it wasn’t any China I knew.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization Chinese travellers spent US$102 billion in 2012. The number of Chinese people venturing overseas tipped the scales at 80 million and just kept on going. Somehow that tunnel we dug so many years ago has now branched out to every part of the globe and it’s now a full-scale mass exodus out the in door.

Judging from the latest half-year figures the impact on Phuket is profound, in that more than one of four international visitors to the island was from Mainland China. Another significant game changer is the paradigm shift no Western European country remains in the top five list of island arrivals. While the high season continues to be all about Eastern Europeans and most notably Russians, regional travelers have entirely different travel patterns.

Looking at the key travel characteristics, they tend to take more holiday trips but shorter in duration. Multi-generational travel, families and groups are another defining pattern. Seasonality has also been turned upside down, though Russians did in 2012/2013 and are expected in next year’s high season to drive the market, we see high demand from China in July and August.

Taking out last year’s report for the same period, Patong ruled the roost in terms of many lead indicators but this year Kata, Karon and Bang Tao are showing strong signs due to their proximity to the beach. Rates in the entertainment markets continue to be under the gun, as the Australian dollar exchange rate is down, leading tourists from there to spend less. With its vast array of non-distinguished same same Patong hotels, rooms have become a commodity and the art of war is one fought on the battleground of room rates.

One surprise is the strength of the upscale hotels, and the fact that, yes, emerging markets will pay more for high quality premium oceanfront or near-to- the-beach properties. For those naysayers this includes the Russians and Chinese and rates are the proof of the pudding. One significant decline is the Korean honeymooner segment, which prefers resort villas, and according to key wholesaler businesses in this market, is down 15% due to economic concerns.

To continue the hotel market as a basketball game analogy, we went out and talked to hoteliers about this year, quarter by quarter, and in broad terms the consensus is that Q1 was a boom, the second and third quarters appear softer but interest is strong in the final quarter of 2013.

Taking a spin around Phuket it was interesting to see many tourism establishments in Kata and Karon still open in July, while they used to close during the mean lean green season.

Overall the island is continuing to see a rapid shift of travellers and the feast looks to be a movable one. For Patong though, the message is clear that some sort of quality and infrastructure change is sorely needed to keep pace with competition from the north and south of the island. One thing for certain is there is no plugging that hole to China anytime soon.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and can be contacted though C9hotelworks.com.

Keep checking the
Phuket Gazette’s business pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest local and national business updates.

— Bill Barnett

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

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

The Thaiger

Published

on

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.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism4 days ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger
Phuket5 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending

Copyright © 2020 The Thaiger