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Ukrainian pair rescued from Krabi mountain viewpoint

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Ukrainian pair rescued from Krabi mountain viewpoint | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Khao Ngon Nak Mountain – Trip101

A Ukrainian couple has been rescued about eight hours after getting lost while climbing to a viewpoint on a mountaintop in Krabi early today.

The pair have been identified as Oliga Ierominska and her husband Luril Ierominska.

They started climbing up Khao Ngon Nak Mountain to the viewpoint at 5pm but found themselves lost so used a mobile phone to contact the staff of their hotel and ask for help.

They said they were walking on the track at the back of the mountain, located behind their hotel. The Haad Thap Kaek National Park had announced the closure of the track on January 3 following heavy rain and told tourists to use the path at the front of the mountain.

After being informed by hotel staff, the park dispatched two teams to search for the couple, who later managed to share their location on their smartphone with the search teams.

The rescuers found the couple at 1am this morning before leading them safely back to their hotel.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Tourism

Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry

Maya Taylor

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Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry | The Thaiger

Leading Thai academics are calling on the government to get a move on and help the tourism industry before it’s too late. Addressing a gathering arranged by the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, Kiriya Kulkolkran from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, pointed to the 80% drop in international tourism as a result of the Covid-19 fallout. His estimate includes the first few months of the year when there was actually a functional tourism industry in Thailand.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Kiriya says just 4% of businesses in the tourism sector say they’ve made the same amount or more than they did before Covid-19. She adds that a survey shows employees in the industry are concerned about debt accumulation and “extremely worried about the future”.

Bovorn Subsing, from Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, has backed up the comments, saying tourism workers have seen their wages drop by 60%, while still facing the same, or higher, cost of living. The result is that most are now in debt.

Kiriya predicts the devastation could continue for over 3 years, affecting not just tourism operators but the entire supply chain, as well as new graduates and those seeking their first job. She says that until the sector recovers, the government needs to provide tailored help for businesses, singling out Phuket hotels, who are struggling to survive without foreign guests.

The islands of Phuket and Samui, plus the other ‘tourist’ islands around Thailand, are facing a particular problem as they’re mostly geared for the international tourist market. Domestic tourism, rebooted last July when the local airlines were permitted to fly again, has mostly shunned the popular tourist islands.

One worker at a Phuket hotel, 52 year old Anchisa Sirinanthasak, addressed the forum in support of a possible co-payment scheme for hotel workers. It’s understood most hotel operators are paying employees 62-75% of their normal salary, which works out at around 8,000-9,000 baht per person and is not enough to cover their costs.

Meanwhile, Manop Kaewphaka from Homenet Thailand, a non-profit that protects home-based workers, has called on the government to allow foreign tourists back into the Kingdom and to provide more support for informal workers, in the form of wage guarantees and co-payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials criticised over Covid border screening measures

The Thaiger

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Officials criticised over Covid border screening measures | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is being criticised over its border screening measures after an Indian man, who stayed in Thailand for 3 months, tested positive for Covid-19 in Krabi province while remaining asymptomatic.

Walairat Chaifoo, director of the Epidemiology Bureau, has defended the screening measures by saying the Department of Disease Control has initiated mass tests for those “at-risk” at their workplaces in June, with the results showing no infections. Furthermore, all hospitals per the DDC, are required to monitor those patients with lung infections or respiratory issues, as they are known to be symptoms of Covid.

“We have never lowered our guard for the surveillance system. Mass testing is still going on to detect the deadly virus.”

“But what we have seen more often is many cases of people who don’t show signs of illness or long-time infection. It means the virus still exists in the country and people must not ignore self-preventive measures.”

The 37 year old Indian patient has joined 95% of those who have been diagnosed with Covid without displaying symptoms. Such a finding makes it apparent that a local infection can still occur through an asymptomatic patient. But despite such findings, Thailand remains one of the countries deemed successful in containing the virus. Currently, Thailand has less than 4,000 cases reported with 60 deaths – a number that is far below most other countries. Globally, the cases have soared to 50 million with another projected spike in infections coming in the next 2 months.

The National Vaccine Institute says the kingdom could get vaccinations 6 months after the Pfizer vaccine is launched, in which the government says it hopes to vaccinate half of the population by the first half of next year. No vaccine has yet passed the Phase 3 trials, the final trials before cleared by national health agencies.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Krabi’s Ao Nang businesses shut up or sell up

The Thaiger

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Krabi’s Ao Nang businesses shut up or sell up | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Sanook.com

Ao Nang, Krabi’s tourist strip, is struggling under the strain of no customers or tourists. Thai Residents reports that there are now at least 10 hotels up for sale valued at billions of baht. Businesses and hotels along the popular Ao Nang tourist strip have been shutting down because of the prolonged closure of Thailand’s borders to general tourism. Even domestic tourists have done little to provide a much-needed kick start to the province’s tourist economy.

The hotels up for sale include 3-5 star hotels, some in prime positions. Owners say they have decided “it’s time to move on”, according to Sanook.com. Krabi’s local economy continues to dwindle as the impact from Thailand’s border closures bites. Even if tourists head to Ao Nang and the province, most tourist attractions are closed or empty. For domestic tourists, Krabi, like Phuket and Koh Samui, are more difficult to reach and have evolved to attract international tourists rather than locals.

The Sanook News Team found that much of the Ao Nang tourist strip was like an “abandoned town”.

“Where the city was always busy full of tourists and vendors, the town is now empty full of silence.

The report estimated that only 10% of businesses remained open. Even the 7-11s had been boarded up or shuttered.

“Even giant hotels are also affected with many decided to shut down and put the property up for sale. When visiting Ao Nang today, many hotels have big for sale signs by the road.”

The Krabi Tourism Council’s Ekkawit Pinyothammanothai says that the rumours are true.

“At least 10 hotels on Ao Nang Beach are up for sale, most of them are big hotels ranging from 3-5 stars. The hotels together are worth billions of baht, each realising they cannot carry on.”

Ao Nang’s small businesses, mostly focussed on the passing tourist trade and beachgoers, have also shut down on the beach because 80-90% of all income in the tourist town are derived from foreign tourists, according to Ekkawit.

Krabi's Ao Nang businesses shut up or sell up | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai Residents | sanook.com

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