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Southern blockades didn’t affect Phuket goods: DIT Chief

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Southern blockades didn’t affect Phuket goods: DIT Chief | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The island’s market for consumer goods and fresh produce has not been affected by the political turmoil in and around Bangkok, the head of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT) Phuket office has assured.

“I’m not aware of any shortages on the island, so there should be no reason why goods in Phuket would be any more expensive than usual,” affirmed Supap Jeenmoung, the DIT Phuket office’s newly-appointed chief.

Mr Supap recently transferred from the DIT’s Trang office to replace former DIT Phuket head, Supatcha Boonpalit, who retired about a month ago.

The new chief denies that Phuket’s supply and stock of goods have been affected by a recent blockade of the primary Southern-bound highway at Wang Manao intersection in Ratchaburi – an hour west of Bangkok.

On February 3 the Phuket Gazette reported (story here) that a blockade of Rama 2 highway (route 35) by disgruntled rice farmers was reported to be causing delays in shipments between the capital and the Southern region.

Mr Supap added that there have been no other incidents or reports to suggest that any other neighboring Southern province has been affected.

“Inspections by [Commerce Ministry] officers of local markets confirm that there have been no shortages or delays in the delivery of goods to/from Phuket or other Southern provinces,” he said.

“Prices are starting to come back to normal now after the Chinese New Year, which saw the price of pork and some fruits slightly increase due to the higher demand (story here) during the festive time.”

Asked about his impressions and thoughts thus far on Phuket’s relatively higher cost of living, Mr Supap said, “Phuket is a prominent tourism destination, so its cost of living is higher. There are various factors to consider. For example, although the national minimum wage was set at 300 baht, the lowest wage being paid to workers at local eateries and restaurants in Phuket is 350 baht.”

Indeed, higher production costs (and transport costs) in Phuket equate to higher costs for the end-users, but that is not to say that cheap food and goods cannot be found on the island.

The chief confirmed that the DIT Phuket office is planning to organize two “Blue Flag” cheap and subsidized goods fairs this month – one in Thalang and the other in Chalong.

The DIT offices in each province, under the authority of the Commerce Ministry, are allocated a budget annually to address inflation and the rising cost of consumerism.

“We’re still waiting to confirm the exact dates with the two newer, big Tesco Lotus branches [in Thalang and Chalong], which are permitting us to use space in front of the supermarkets to hold the fairs.”

“I can’t confirm exactly how much our budget this year is, but I know it’s less than previous years,” he said.

Asked if the goods and produce sold at the fairs would be competing or clashing with those sold inside the supermarkets, Mr Supap assured that this would not be the case.

“There won’t be any duplicating of the goods on offer [with those sold inside],” he said.

Stay tuned for confirmation of the dates of the fairs.

Chief Supap added, “If any unnecessary price gouging is suspected, you can report it by calling the Ministry of Commerce hotline number: 1569.”

— Steven Layne

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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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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

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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