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Local officials step up talks, spending for ASEAN economy

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Local officials step up talks, spending for ASEAN economy | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Local officials continue to intensify dialogue, and thus anticipation for the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), with the economic positioning for Phuket and the Southern region gradually beginning to take form.

The latest ‘AEC – Phuket get ready’ talks, held last week at the Phuket Provincial Hall, covered the latest regional economic integration challenges and opportunities.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut, along with Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa and Pichit Boonrot, chief of the Office of Strategic Management (OSM) for the Southern Province Cluster – which includes Phuket, Trang, Krabi, Ranong and Phang Nga – met with a number of community and business leaders from across Southern Thailand.

Participants were debriefed on the results of another recent meeting held in Surat Thani, which focused on identifying and tackling economic problems in Southern Thailand ahead of the AEC.

The meeting talked about the planned establishment of a Palm oil research and development institute; a project directed at stabilizing rubber prices; the proposed establishment of a Southern Thai goods distribution center; and expanding regional transportation networks for both land and sea routes.

Consultants wanted
The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) is preparing to spend 12 million baht on improving English communication “potential” of the province’s teachers and administrators.

PPAO President Paiboon Upasating said that such funds were allocated in the 2013 fiscal budget, to be used to higher consultants who will advise on developing the English language potential of teachers and administrators.

He said that surveys conducted across Phuket showed that there are not enough child development centers and schools to support the number of children in Phuket, which continues to grow. Moreover, the number of capable teachers is also insufficient, he said.

In addition to the 12mn baht budget for language consultation, Paiboon added that the PPAO had allocated more than 40mn baht of Phuket’s 2013-fiscal-year budget to address such a teacher shortage.

He elaborated that at present, Phuket is bringing in a high number of Filipino teachers and nurses to fill employment vacancies.

“When we open the doors to [the] ASEAN [Economic Community], there will be a large influx of foreigners.

“Thus, I believe everyone [in Phuket] will truly benefit from the syllabus that we are employing.”

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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.

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

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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