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Closed for maintenance – Maya Bay closes for wet season

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Closed for maintenance – Maya Bay closes for wet season | The Thaiger

Maya Bay,on Koh Phi Phi, will be closed to all visitors for four months during this monsoon season in an effort to restore its natural ecosystem that has been damaged by excessive tourism.

The decision to temporarily close Maya Bay to all tourists during the wet season from this June to September was approved at a meeting of marine national parks chiefs on Wednesday. The move follows proposals from local people, officials and academics to restore the coral reefs and allow nature to recover from the impacts of uncontrolled tourism during the rest of the year.

Closed for maintenance - Maya Bay closes for wet season | News by The Thaiger

The chief of Had Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi Island National Park, Worapoj Lomlim, said the meeting approved the plan to restore the natural beauty of Maya Bay. Presided over by the director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, the meeting decided to impose a seasonal closure of the venue starting this year after it became clear that the previously pristine nature of the bay was being degraded by excessive tourism.

Maya Bay is globally well-known as the set of the Hollywood movie “The Beach”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The filming of the movie at Had Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi Island National Park made the area one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Thailand.

Closed for maintenance - Maya Bay closes for wet season | News by The Thaiger

From the movie “The Beach”

However, the increasing number of tourists visiting the Phi Phi islands and Maya Bay has led to overcrowding, and also harmed its natural beauty and ecosystem. Worapoj said the problem of “overtourism” could be resolved by a four-month closure of Maya Bay, which would enable nature to restore itself, allow damaged coral reefs in the bay to start to regrow and also prevent danger to tourists from rough sea conditions during the monsoon season.

“During the four-month closure period, no tourists will be allowed to enter the bay from any side, but sightseeing from boats outside the bay area will still be possible,” he said. “As we are implementing the closure period of Maya Bay for the first time, we are going to study the restoration rate of nature and overall impact on the ecosystem and tourism to improve our plan next year. We want to promote sustainable tourism.”

He said controlling tourist numbers would have to be further discussed among all stakeholders, given the seriousness of the issue.

According to data on tourist numbers with the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Had Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi Island National Park was found to have drawn the highest number of visitors last year – nearly 2 million. It is expected that by the end of fiscal year 2018, the number of tourists at Phi Phi Islands could reach 2.5 million.

A leading marine biologist and major campaigner on the Maya Bay closure plan, Thon Thamrongnawasawat, said the seasonal closure was a major step towards environmental preservation of all famous marine tourist attractions in Thailand, as overtourism had taken a great toll on the marine ecosystems and natural resources.

Thon suggested that the next goal should be to restrict the number of tourists at Maya Bay to no more than 2,000 per day, to prevent negative impacts. He said according to his observations, Maya Bay had received on average 3,700 tourists per day, which was well beyond the capacity of the area. He also said during the monsoon season, the number of tourists heading to Maya Bay peaked at as many as 5,000 per day, as the other major islands were closed to visitors during the period and tourists crowded the remaining islands.

Closed for maintenance - Maya Bay closes for wet season | News by The Thaiger Closed for maintenance - Maya Bay closes for wet season | News by The Thaiger

Original story HERE.

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism

Greeley Pulitzer

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism | The Thaiger

Over the past ten years, Asia has become a favourite destination for medical tourism for people from around the world. Besides the white sand beaches, historic monuments and rich cultural legacy, healthcare in Asia is now a major attraction. From transplants and surgeries to dental procedures and botox, people are turning to Asia.

But what makes Asia the most popular destination? Some say lack of specialised treatments in their home countries or the affordable cost of treatment in Asia: these combined with ease of travel and lax visa rules for medical treatment have opened vast avenues for the region.

In 2017, some one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million visited Thailand. India too saw a surge from 4,27,014 medical tourists in 2016 to 4,95,056 in 2017.

Here’s a look at the top Asian countries for various medical treatments:

Thailand is popular for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Since 2003, the Thai Government has taken steps to make Thailand a global centre for medical tourism through its Centre of Excellent Health Care of Asia initiative, and now has 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals.

A 2016 WHO study revealed that medical tourists visiting Thailand were more likely to be residents of the eastern Mediterranean or south-east or south Asia. However, what makes the country a preferred destination is its world-class hospitality, highly specialised care and tailored care packages.

India is a favoured destination due to its its advanced technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments. Patients visit India not just for specialised treatment and surgeries but for routine check-ups as well.

India amended e-visa rules for 150 countries in 2016, making visa procurement easy for foreigners. India’s National Health Policy specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues visas patients’ accompanying spouses.

Singapore is a choice for patients seeking state-of-the-art facilities, well trained doctors and quality care. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the city-state has more than 15 hospitals catering to medical tourists. Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is picking up the pace and is a preferred destination for people from other Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Of one million medical tourists who visited the country in 2017, 600,000 were from Indonesia.

According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia has set a target of at least one million medical tourists from Indonesia by 2020. Since the health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia, quality care at affordable prices lures patients from across Asia and the world.

World-famous for its beauty clinics, South Korea’s ambitions go beyond cosmetic surgery. According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 3,64,000 foreign medical tourists visited the country in 2016, including patients from Canada, the USA, UAE, China and Japan.

South Korea’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Asia and has established a niche in the medical technology industry. To promote medical tourism, the government offers a special visa to medical tourists and insurance that covers both injury and death resulting from medical treatment or procedures.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Bangkok

10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs

Greeley Pulitzer

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10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 billionaire MPs, while the poorest MP has just 5,064 baht in his bank account, according to reports from the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the 10 billionaire MPs, Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, of the Bhumjaithai Party, wife of Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat, is the richest, with declared assets of about 4.675 billion baht.

The other nine billionaire MPs are:

Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai party leader, deputy prime minister and public health minister, with 4.249 billion baht (including two planes, two boats, Buddha images worth 121 million baht and 395 million baht in bank deposits)

Bhumjaithai MP for Satun province, Mr. Piboon Ratchakitprakarn, with 2.342 billion baht

Mr. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, industry minister and Palang Pracharat MP, at 2.198 billion baht

Mr. Apichaiubon, Democrat party-list MP, with assets of 2.048 billion baht

Mr. Nataphol Teepsuwan, Palang Pracharat party-list MP and education minister, with 1.985 billion baht

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, deputy education minister and Democrat party-list MP, with 1.785 billion baht

Ms. Supamat Issarapakdi, Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who has 1.609 billion baht

Mr. Kittisak Khanasawat, Pheu, Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, with 1.529 billion baht

Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich, with 1.097 billion baht

PM’s Office Minister and Chart Pattana party-list MP Tewan Liptapallop, who has 1.03 billion baht

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has assets of about 8 million baht

Of the 500 MPs, it appears that Mr. Phisanu Polatee, Bhumjaithai, MP for Pathum Thani province, has the least assets. There was, at the time reporting, only 5,064 baht in his bank account.

Earlier, he reported that he earned 14,000 baht a month from the Provincial Administration Organization. His earnings as an MP since May totaled 829,700 baht. He said he is living in the house of his mother and the car that he has been driving belongs to a friend.

Several MPs have not yet declared their assets to the NACC’s Office, including Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Future Forward MPs Pannika Wanich and Pitha Limcharonrat.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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