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Tourists from Taiwan to Phuket to double in 2012: PTA

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Tourists from Taiwan to Phuket to double in 2012: PTA | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The number of Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Phuket this year is expected double last year’s figure, a senior government official has announced.

Paiboon Upatising, currently caretaker president of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor), said that the island can expect up to 100,000 Taiwanese arrivals in 2012 – compared with 50,000 last year.

The projections were announced following the “Phuket Road Show & Table Top Sales” tourism promotion in Taipei and Taichuang – Taiwan’s third largest city – last month.

Accompanying Mr Paiboon on the trip was Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) President Somboon Jirayus, director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Bangonrat Shinaprayoon, PTA vice-chairman Phurit Maswongsa and a delegation of Phuket tourism operator representatives.

“Last year we held road shows in many countries, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Dubai, Qatar and Australia,” Mr Paiboon said.

“Those trips resulted in more direct flights and thus tourists to Phuket from the cities we visited. This proves that these road shows have been successful,”he added.

Mr Paiboon noted that Taiwan was an “interesting” source market for tourists to Phuket.

“The country has more than 20 million people, but not many Taiwanese visit Phuket. A lot more Taiwanese traveled to Phuket before the Boxer Day 2004 tsunami hit Phuket,” he said.

“Before the tsunami, there used to be more than 200,000 Taiwanese arrivals in Phuket each year. After that, their new holiday destinations were Japan, the Philippines and Bali.

“These destinations have a lot more flights [from Taiwan], making it convenient for them to travel to,” he said.

Mr Paiboon pointed out there are currently three direct flights per week from Taiwan to Phuket.

“I hope Thai Airways will add flights from Taiwan to Hong Kong, which will allow more [Taiwanese commuters] to continue to Phuket via connecting direct flights from Hong Kong,” he said.

“Our next roadshow will be in Germany in March. Then we will have one in Japan around July. At the end of the year, we will be going to Australia again, since we have had good feedback from that country,” he concluded.

Governor Tri added that Taiwan is a high-potential target for both high and low seasons in Phuket.

“After discussions with Thai Airways representatives and the Thai Ambassador in Taipei, I feel very confident that Thai Airways will offer flights from Taipei to Phuket, and that Phuket will be welcoming more Taiwanese tourists soon,” he said.

China Airways is currently the only airline to offer non-stop flights between Taipei and Phuket.

“We have done our homework very well before going to present our province to the Taiwanese [tourism operators].

“Chinese tourists from mainland China are our main target. They travel to Phuket all year round, even in the low season. The Taiwanese are like the mainland Chinese because they like to travel a lot as well.

“The most special part is that Phuket and Taiwan have similar cultures. Most of the Taiwanese are Hokkien, and many Chinese in Phuket are also Hokkien.

“The fact that we both share the same heritage is a strong selling point for our province,” he said.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai



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Business

Strong baht a concern for Thai hotel sector

Bill Barnett

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Strong baht a concern for Thai hotel sector | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett

Thailand’s baht performance against Asian currencies in 2018, was unmatched, with the exception of the Japanese yen.

Commenting on the trend financial news Bloomberg have highlighted that in 2019, a further 4% in growth this year have it sitting at the top of the table.

Oddly, one of the underlying factors stimulating the baht’s appreciation is the recovery in tourism arrivals which has a double-digit impact on the country’s GDP.

While the elections remain a wild card on forward expectations, the reality is that the currency has not been hit like the Chinese yuan, which has been disrupted by a threatened U.S. China trade war and slowdown in its economy.

Despite higher than expected tourism numbers in 2018, hotel owners are cautiously optimistic on the prospects for the year.

In reality, despite rising prices for visitors, the economic climate is leading many property developers turning to hospitality assets as the real estate market remains volatile. The general view is that sustainable cash flow as part of their business mix is good and that tourism fundamentals remain strong.

Still, looking at nearby competitors such as Vietnam, which is rapidly growing from a cub into a tourism tiger, the issue of affordability is concerning. Currency swings remain a real and present factor in demand, so expect hoteliers to keep watching currency levels closely in 2019.

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Plastic surgery furore and first transgender contestant at Miss Universe in Bangkok

The Thaiger

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Plastic surgery furore and first transgender contestant at Miss Universe in Bangkok | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Spain’s Angela Ponce becomes first trans woman to compete for Miss Universe

After the beauty dust has settled and the glitter is wiped away, it seems all is not well with the latest Miss Universe Pageant. Taking place in Bangkok recently, new revelations have surfaced surrounding one of its entrants and, notably, her plastic surgeon. 

Aesthetic and rhinoplasty surgeon, Froilan Paez, took to social media in order to post pre and post-op images of one of his clients. Displaying the fruits of his labor, former Miss Venezuela 2017 Stefany Gutierrez’s transformation was uploaded to Mr. Paez’s Instagram account. 

What looks like part of a ‘thank you’ posting, Mr. Paez tagged Venezuela’s most beautiful woman declaring her “a true diamond that knew whom to trust to get its best shine.” However, it appears that the beauty queen is not the first model to crop up in his particular feed. 

Delving a little deeper shows a host of ‘nose job’ patients who have gone under the knife, including those from previous beauty contests. Utilising various hashtags, it does seem that Miss Venezuela 2017 did undergo rhinoplasty before taking to the stage. 

Plastic surgery furore and first transgender contestant at Miss Universe in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, the event in Bangkok last December also saw the first transgender contestant take part. Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, who underwent gender re-assignment surgery has set pulses racing for different reasons. 

“Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long. I’m showing that trans women can be whatever they want. I am proud to have the opportunity to use this platform for a message of inclusion, tolerance and respect for the LGBT+ community.” she said

Since 2012, The Miss Universe Organisation has lifted its ban on entry for transgender contestants which has raised awareness on the subject. With Catriona Gray from the Philippines taking victory, the Thai capital saw the Miss Universe contest beamed to nearly 200 countries across the world. The TV audience is just as great and usually attracts half a billion viewers every year.

Speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation, Ponce explained that trans children often have to deal with mental health issues such as depression.

“I was born into a world, into a society which really wasn’t prepared for me. So many children face discrimination for being different. It is important to tell them they have a right to be who they are, who they want to be,” she added.

In fact, gender reassignment in Thailand has gathered pace as Darren Lyons of MyMediTravel explains;

“Thailand has long been considered at the forefront when it comes to transgender surgery. Gender-affirming surgery is firmly on the map with as many as three patients travelling to Thailand daily for this procedure.”

“This is coupled with a growing supply of highly trained surgeons utilising years of experience to provide low-cost medical care to overseas patients. What better way to relax and recuperate post-treatment than at a nearby resort moments from one of Thailand’s pristine shorelines.”

All of this comes against a large shift in Thai law as the country readies itself to pass a bill allowing same-sex unions. Consequently, they will become the first country across Asia to pass this specific law.

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Scrapped: Back to the drawing board for Suvarnabhumi Terminal 2 design

The Thaiger

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Scrapped: Back to the drawing board for Suvarnabhumi Terminal 2 design | The Thaiger

It’s back to the drawing board for the AoT and the new Terminal 2 project at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The contract to design the much needed second terminal has been the subject of a lot of bitter criticism in the Thai architectural community.

The board of Airports of Thailand Public Company, the operator of Suvarnabhumi international and five other major airports in Thailand, has scrapped the Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 project design. With a proposed budget of 329 million baht, the scrapped design contract was originally awarded to the DBALP Consortium, or the Duangrit Bunnag Group.

The AoT board cited the need to overhaul the project’s design to meet the requirements of Terminal 2’s users in rejecting the group’s controversial design, which was approved by the AOT management in August 2018.

Recently, 12 professional organisations, including the Association of Siamese Architects, the Consulting Engineers Association of Thailand, the Thai Contractors Association and the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, voiced strong objections to the AOT’s plan to expand Terminal 2 at an estimated overall cost of 40 billion baht, claiming the project was wasteful and citing the high speed train project linking Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports in Bangkok and U-tapao airport in Rayong, which combined, can accommodate between 100 and 120 million passengers a year.

Meanwhile, the issue of renting out space at Suvarnabhumi and other major airports for duty-free, retail and other commercial services, it was reported that the AOT board has split the business operations into three major contracts in the next concession auction – one contract for duty-free businesses, another for retailing and other commercial services and the third for duty-free pickup counter services.

King Power International Group is currently the concessionaire for the duty-free business at Suvarnabhumi and other major airports, but its concession expires next year and a new auction will be held at the end of this year to select new operators.

Several Thai and foreign companies have shown interest to joining the bidding for concessions worth several billions of baht each year.

Scrapped: Back to the drawing board for Suvarnabhumi Terminal 2 design | News by The Thaiger

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