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Expert differs with report on Koh Samet

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Expert differs with report on Koh Samet | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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Expert differs with report on Koh Samet
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Even though a researcher says that Koh Samet’s Ao Phrao is recovering naturally, with the number of marine organisms in the area rising, an academic disagreed, saying the ecosystem was not normal yet and that the coral reef had been bleached.

Local residents and business operators are also calling for greater rehabilitation measures and compensation for damages caused by an oil leak by PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) off Rayong province on June 27 last year.

Burapha University’s aquatic scientist Vichaya Gunbua presented reporters his findings from the affected area during an inspection trip on Wednesday. During the trip, Vichaya claimed that marine life like giant clams, flower crabs, damselfish and rainbow fish as well as sea urchins and species such as lancelet had returned to the area, suggesting that seawater there was clean.

The number of benthos, a community of organisms that live on, near or in the seabed, had also risen at Mae Rumphueng, Suan Son, Ao Phrao and Ao Wongduan beaches, he said.

However, Thon Thamrongnawa-sawat, deputy dean at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries who has also been conducting a study in the area, said the number of marine organisms at Ao Phrao was still less compared to other beaches. A normal beach with a normal ecosystem should have 10 organisms per square metre, but Ao Phrao did not, he said.

“I admit that there are more benthos [organisms] and it’s getting better, but it has not yet returned to normal,” he added.

Thon said another worrying indication of the ecosystem’s abnormal conditions was the bleaching of the coral reef caused by the oil spill.

Meanwhile, a source said a satellite image released by Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency showed that the oil leak had also affected tambon Ban Phe, Pak Nam along the Rayong coast, even though PTTGC had reportedly used chemicals to dissolve the black oil slicks.

Separately, Sutharak Kijthawee, a fisherman in tambon Pak Nam who has joined 445 fellow fishermen to sue PTTGC for Bt400 million, insisted that the spill had had adversely affected their livelihood.

He said many fishermen now had to either fish in Chumphon province or take up labour jobs for Bt300 daily.

“I want related agencies to provide us with information about rehabilitation progress and solutions. I have noticed many fish mysteriously dying and sometimes tar balls sweep ashore,” he added.

Bang Kracher Fishermen’s Group head Weerasak Khongnarong said the fishermen’s logs on their catches – which show that their catches had shrunk by 80 per cent after the leak – would be used as evidence in court.

Meanwhile, TAT reported that 143,854 tourists had visited Samet from January to May, or 9,303 more compared to the same period last year. TAT’s Rayong Office director Chuchat Oncharoen credited the increase to TAT’s image-restoring activities and said August 2013 saw 8,436 visitors to Koh Samet while December 2013 saw 21,036 arrivals.

However, Saravoot Wannaprasert, manager of Ao Phrao Resort, said the number of guests at his hotel had dropped by 20 per cent after the oil spill.

“I hope things return to normal during high season in November,” he said, adding that the resort also had to close temporarily for three months after the incident. He said that though PTTGC had provided some compensation, it was not enough to cover the damages.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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