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Local vendors cash in on Pokemon trend

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Local vendors at popular Pokemon catching spots in Phuket have experienced a boost in income since the launch of Pokemon GO in Thailand. However, some vendors expect this spike to be short lived.

For those who are wondering what Pokemon GO is, it is Nintendo Company’s mobile phone game which marries a classic 20-year-old franchise with augmented reality, and has become an instant hit globally. Players walk around real-life places to search out and capture Pokemon cartoon characters on their smartphones.

There are two major spots where people gather to catch Pokemon in Phuket – Rang Hill and Saphan Hin.

The reason that these two spots are so popular is that there are many ‘PokeStops’ there with Lure Modules inserted. Lure Modules turn the PokeStops purple and attract more Pokemons to the PokeStop. People nearby will be able to catch more Pokemons.

The popularity of the game has so far been helpful for businesses in the area. A vendor at the bottom of Rang Hill, who wishes to be named only as Ms Pen, says the area has become crowded ever since the game’s launch in Thailand.

“I sell steamed buns (salabao), soy milk, and other drinks. It is usually very quiet down here at the bottom of the hill. It used to be a shrine with hardly any visitors appearing. I used to come here to sell sometimes,” she says.

“Ever since the game was launched, many people gather here to play. The area becomes even more crowded in the evenings, from about 8pm until late at night. There are a lot of teenagers who come on bikes and then stand there catching Pokemons.”

Ms Pen says her sales have increased a little, but not steeply.

“I am able to sell more snacks and drinks, but it is not a huge increase, as most people are there to play, not to eat. I still go out there to sell food every night, except on rainy days,” she says. “I need to cash in on this trend and earn quickly from it because I believe people will soon get bored of it and not come here for the Pokemons anymore. You know how Thai people are,” she added.

A hawker at Saphan Hin, where many Pokemon GO players gather near the circle and the water, expressed similar views about the trend.

“A lot of people, especially teenagers, used to come to Saphan Hin, even before the game was launched. Now we see even more teenagers, as well as a lot more middle-aged people. It is very funny for me to see middle aged working people coming here to catch Pokemons,” said Ms Kiew, a fruit seller in the area.

“I have made a little more income from this, but I am not really surprised or happy about it. I am certain it won’t last long, but I am happy to see more people coming here and making it more lively. I don’t mind as long as it helps local vendors make more money, whether a little or a lot,” she added.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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