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Less Thais visiting temples due to Covid-19, religious tourism at a loss

Caitlin Ashworth

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Less Thais visiting temples due to Covid-19, religious tourism at a loss | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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While Google searches for “prayers” spiked during the Covid-19 outbreak, people in Thailand are spending less time going to temples to pray. In a recent poll, less people are travelling to temples and making merit due to the pandemic, according to the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office. The office recently did a poll and found that 44% of the 7,904 respondents are not visiting religious venues as often as they did in 2019, saying it’s due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Although religious tourism only makes up 0.36% of Thailand’s total tourism revenue with Thais spending an average of 10.8 billion baht a year on religious travel, the office’s director general Pimchanok Vonkorpon says it’s important and locals should work together to promote religious tourism.

“Religious travelling is an important economic activity that helps create revenue at the community level, as Thailand has religious venues scattered in every province… Therefore, local administrators and communities must work together to promote local tourism as well as maintain religious venues in good condition to attract tourists.”

Pimchanok says most Thais visit temples to pay respects and gain spiritual support. According to the poll, 54% enjoy horoscope readings, 21% enjoy palm readings and 12% enjoy tarot card readings.

“Over 70 per cent of respondents said they spend less than 200 baht for donations and merit-making on each trip to religious venues. People in this group are mostly students or unemployed, while those who spend more than 200 baht at religious venues are mostly civil servants and business owners.”

While Pimchanok says religious tourism across Thailand has been at a loss, a temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Sichon district has seen an influx of tourists. A spirit called Ai Khai at Wat Chedi is known for granting wishes. An earlier report says so many people flock to the temple that hotels in the area are often fully booked.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    November 9, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Less Thais? Really? Sounds like someone forgot what a countable noun looks like.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 10, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Alas this is the trend now.
    People of the world tend to disbelieve that paying money to self appointed agents, that claim they have a hotline to God, or another religious agent that will give a believer a good life after death.
    Why is Thai Buddhism taken seriously, when witch doctors in Africa are dying out?
    Were witch doctors any less qualified to profit a believer, with hope, and enhanced morale?
    A Thai monk may have to put away their orange dress, and earn their rice in other occupations – such at tuc tuc drivers.
    However they might earn extra tips by blessing the passengers, or maybe not . . .

  3. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    November 10, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Also one has to wonder if/when a message from above reaches the saffron dressed ones, will they pass the divine information on or will they have a quick whip round in the monestry and buy the lottery tickets for themselves?

    I was very surprised when the recent lucky holy man passed some of his new found wealth on to his children bless him.

    Is there something different about the celibacy bit in thailand that I don’t get?

  4. Avatar

    Alan

    November 10, 2020 at 4:26 am

    Visiting temples is a very important part of Thai life for tourists as well as Thai people. The slow down also probably affects the Naga spirit mediums also, which is a close contact event in private homes. This means the Moral of the people could be affected. However Thai people have their own shrines, spirit houses, and amulets for support. What we don’t want to see is a deterioration in temple maintenance.

  5. Avatar

    Jen Sen

    November 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Fewer

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26 | The Thaiger

Today’s news includes some live footage of the explosion and chaos at last night’s rally outside the Siam Commercial Bank building. Here we go with today’s Thailand news.

An explosion and gunshots fired at last night’s protest outside the Siam Commercial Bank HQ

There were reports of shootings and the throwing of an explosive device, caught on video at last night’s protest out the front of the Siam Commercial Bank HQ.

2 people were shot and injured in the chaos that erupted as people were starting to head home after the rally at about 10.10pm.

Firstly there was a man, dressed in a bike helmet, caught on camera hurling some explosive, through to be a pipe bomb, into a crowd of protesters. After the explosion there was up to 4 gunshots fired. A gunman was apprehended whilst other alleged shooters escaped into the crowd. Both the injured protesters were rushed to hospital. The protesters had their own security contingent present at yesterday’s rally, some 50 volunteers, who co-operated with police in their immediate investigation into the incident.

Yellow ducks dominate at Bangkok pro-democracy rally

Speaking about the protests, what is it about the yellow inflatable ducks that keep popping up at the rallies?

Having been used at protests in Hong Kong earlier this year, the rubber duck has also become a regular feature at the Thai protests, a symbol of mutual support between both pro-democracy movements. And, more practically, became a useful defensive shield to fend off the water cannons and anything else that ended up hurled at the protesters.

At yesterday’s rally outside the SCB building, the duck could be seen everywhere, with enterprising vendors selling t-shirts, toys, hats, torches and hair pins, all bearing the yellow duck’s image.

Yesterday’s protest was originally set to take place at the Crown Property Bureau, but organisers took to social media the night before to announce a change of location to the SCB headquarters. Protest leaders say the change was to avoid a confrontation with royalists who, they claim, were being deliberately sent to provoke them.

10 passengers injured after Bangkok-Chiang Khong bus crashes into tree

10 people were injured and sent to the hospital after a bus driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree early this morning.

The double-decker passenger bus on the Bangkok-Chiang Khong route was passing through the Phitsanulok province in Central Thailand when the driver lost control and crashed into a tree on the side of the road. The incident happened at 2:50am.

Thai PM insists martial law will not be used against protesters

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he has no intention of resorting to martial law to put an end to the current political impasse and protests. He says that existing laws provide enough scope for dealing with those who take matters into their own hand.

But the then General Prayut, head of the Thai army, made similar assurances in the latter stages of the Yingluck Shinawatra government before he led the NCPO in a bloodless military coup against her government in May 2014.

City officials plan to demolish abandoned Pattaya condo project

After years of talks, threats, and complaints, the abandoned Waterfront condo development overlooking Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier looks set to be demolished.

The Waterfront Suites and Residence is a half-finished condo project that was stalled in 2014 after safety inspectors discovered that the building’s fire escapes and elevator systems designs varied from the already approved construction designs.

Now Pattaya’s mayor says officials plan to tear down what many have condemned as an eyesore, “as soon as possible”, and charge the owners for the costs of the demolition.

The Israeli-owned development company, Bali Hai, are accused of violating building regulations, by building a structure that exceeds the legal height limit, as well as restrictions on proximity to the beach. Local residents have also complained that the development obstructs the panoramic vista of the bay from Pattaya Hill.

Ex-Thai Airways official gets fat prison sentence for failing to pay excess baggage fees

You’ll never complain about excess baggage charges after hearing what happened to a former Chairman of Thai Airways who’s ended up with a 2 year prison sentence for fudging his baggage allowance on a flight back in 2009.

The former chair for the airline has been sentenced to 2 years in jail because he didn’t pay for 300 kilograms of excess baggage. The court says he abused his authority by ordering airline staff to change the stated weight of luggage so he could get out of paying excess baggage fees.

The judge says the sentence could not be suspended. Ex Chairman Wallop’s lawyers say they will appeal the harsh sentence.

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Thailand

Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Army denies claims about Twitter campaign to spread pro-government propaganda | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Following a shutdown of 926 Twitter accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, documents were leaked of what appears to be a contract between the Army and a private company supposedly hired to spread pro-government propaganda.

Army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae denies the claims and says the Army never hired a company to spread pro-government propaganda through the Twitter accounts.

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies.

A report by Stanford Internet Observatory’s Cyber Policy Centre says the Army used Twitter to “cheerlead” with pro-government propaganda. The report says the Army used Twitter to criticise the now disbanded Future Forward Party and neutralism criticism after February’s mass shooting where an Army soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 others.

Former Future Forward Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich says members of the opposition plan to sue the Army for “using tax money to cause divisions and hatred among Thais.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok | The Thaiger
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Thai authorities are transferring 3 Iranian inmates to Tehran. The inmates were involved in the 2012 failed bomb plot, which Israeli and Thai officials say, was targeted at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok.

According to Iranian state TV, the transfer was a swap. The report says 33 year old British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was incarcerated for the past 2 years on espionage charges, was released from Iran prison in exchange for the 3 Iranians imprisoned overseas.

Although Iranian media reports the transfer was a prisoner swap, Thai officials have not confirmed the reports. Thailand’s deputy general Chatchom Akapin says the transfers are normal and Thailand approved the transfer in an agreement with Iran.

“These types of transfers aren’t unusual… We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.”

Back in 2012, a cache of homemade explosives accidentally blew up at a Bangkok villa on Sukhumvit 71 rented by the Iranians. Saeid Moradi fled the home carrying explosives, but dropped them as police chased him. He lost both his legs in the explosion.

While both Thai and Israeli officials say the explosives were intended to attack Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, Iran officials deny the allegations. The men never faced terrorism charges or any charges relating to attempting to kill the Israeli diplomats.

Moradi along with his accomplice, Mohammad Kharzei, were convicted in 2013. Thai Court sentenced Moradi to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer and sentenced Kharzei to 15 years in prison for possessing explosives. Another suspect, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was arrested in Malaysia in 2012 and then extradited to Thailand in 2017.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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