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Pre-Songkran inspections of public buses and their drivers

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Pre-Songkran inspections of public buses and their drivers | The Thaiger

The Land Transport Department has started the inspection of drivers and mechanical condition of public transport vehicles at bus stations ahead of the Songkran holiday period next month.

The period, aka. the ‘seven days of danger’, is notorious for a marked increase in road accidents due to much higher traffic levels as Thai’s head home for celebrations.

On the first two days of inspections, March 15-16, a total of 25,636 buses, and their drivers and rest schedules, were checked, but no flaws that could affect road safety had yet been found, according to the deputy director-general Kamon Buranapong.

25,636 buses checked and not ONE mechanical defect!

Bus drivers were also given blood alcohol tests. There were no drivers over the alcohol limit.

The vehicle inspections – a Land Transport Department collaboration with the Office of Vocational Education Commission and related agencies, to be conducted at 195 transportation hubs and locations – form part of a Songkran 2019 road-safety campaign, which kicked off on March 15 with the main theme to get motorists “to drive slowly, turn on headlights and wear seat belts” and motorcyclists “to turn on headlights and wear safety helmets”, Kamon explained.

Vehicle inspection is being carried out in three phases: the preparation period from March 15-21, the pre-Songkran period from April 4-10, and the Songkran period itself from April 11-17.

Pre-Songkran inspections of public buses and their drivers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Politics

Charter court will hand down ruling on Thanathorn share case on November 20

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Charter court will hand down ruling on Thanathorn share case on November 20 | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai Constitutional Court is set to issue a ruling in Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s media share ownership case on November 20. The court wrapped up its inquiry yesterday with the questioning of ten defence witnesses, including Thanathorn who arrived at the court greeted by well-wishers.

Thanathorn, who held 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media, has repeatedly insisted they were sold to his mother on January 8, weeks before he registered to run as a candidate.

As judges fired questions at him during today’s hearing, the usually cool-headed party leader appeared tense, saying he couldn’t recall the legal details of divesting the shares. His supporters say the case has been trumped up to take out Thailand’s most popular politician and deliver a gut punch to the FFP and its radical reform agenda.

Read more about the case HERE.

Both Thanathorn and the Election Commission, which filed the case with the Constitutional Court, were given 15 days from today to submit their closing statements to the court.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Expats

Opinion: Retirees and medical insurance in Thailand

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Opinion: Retirees and medical insurance in Thailand | The Thaiger

By Barry Kenyon of The Pattaya Mail

Thai government spokespeople, in recent years, have emphasised that that Thai hospitals are not free for foreigners. They have cited examples of sick and crowd-funded aliens desperate to get back to their home countries, or annual reports from public hospitals bemoaning the unpaid bills of foreign nationals.

So far not a lot has happened. Holders of one year 0/A visas or ten year 0/X, issued by Thai consulates and embassies abroad, do now require medical insurance worth at least 400,000 baht for in-patient treatment and 40,000 baht for out-patient care. But the vast majority of expat retirees in Thailand receive their annual extensions of stay at a Thai immigration office. They do not currently require insurance.

Will that change? It’s not clear. The government has already stated that long-stay aliens with a history of physical illness may be checked out before an extension of stay is granted. What this means, if anything, is unclear but it could signify the immigration bureau’s refusal if an applicant is discovered to have unpaid hospital bills.

One substantial reason for leaving well alone is that many expat retirees self-insure because they are too old or infirm to obtain medical insurance. But these wealthier retirees contribute billions of baht annually to (mostly) private hospital coffers when significant surgery is required. They would be forced out of the country if unobtainable medical cover was made compulsory, thus leading to a gigantic loss of income.

It’s also true that the mandatory insurance requirement for 0/A visa holders is modest. A sum of 400,000 baht may seem a lot but is unlikely to cover the total bill for heart surgery, most cancer operations and stays in an intensive care unit, at any rate in the private sector.

Read the rest of the editorial HERE.

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Coronation

Indian tourist numbers to Thailand steadily climbing

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Indian tourist numbers to Thailand steadily climbing | The Thaiger

The number of Indian tourists coming to Thailand has doubled over the past half a decade and continues to grow by an average of 15% each year. The figures are from a survey conducted by researchers Nutchanart Kuprasert and Jidapha Chuayphan on behalf of the Bank of Thailand.

Contributing factors include an overall increase in Indians travelling overseas as evidenced by 10 million new passports being issued annually. Thailand is a popular choice for first-time Indian tourists as distances are short and travel is easy thanks to some 3,000 direct flights now being offered by various carriers between both main and secondary destinations including to Phuket plus the introduction of free visa-on-arrival.

The study indicates that Indian tourist will keep catching up to the leading tourist demographic, the Chinese , but not surpass them any time soon. Projections for the next decade show that some 21 million Chinese tourists will visit Thailand compared to 14 million Indian nationals. But in terms of spending, Indian tourists are similar strong spenders, like the Chinese, and able to travel to Thailand all year round, even during the low season.

Popular destinations are listed as Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. In addition, information from tour operators in Thailand reveals that Indian tourists are not as sensitive as Chinese tourists to unexpected events. Generally speaking, if the trip has been planned in advance, they will not change plans or cancel travel.

Indian tourist numbers to Thailand steadily climbing | News by The Thaiger

The report divides Indian tourists who enter Thailand into 3 main groups…

• Tourism for vacation accounts for 85%. Most visitors are between the ages of 25 and 35, prefer to travel with friends or come here for a honeymoon because the cost is not high. They spend an average of 27,000 baht per person and favour the country as they can get a visa on arrival. Some groups use Thailand as a base for visiting other countries.

• Weddings account for 5% of visitors, mostly amongst the well-heeled. The data show that more than 300 Indian come to get married in Thailand every year often with wedding parties exceeding 200 guests. In India, luxury events such as weddings are a show of family status, and the budget ranges from 10 million to 120 million baht per event. Couples favour 15 well-known 5-star hotels and the average spending per person is 50,000 baht.

• MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) groups or group meetings account for 10%, with many large companies choosing Thailand as an incentive destination. These popularly travel in large groups of around 800 people and are likely to visit Thailand on multiple occasions. The average spent per person per time is 76,000 baht. Thai business tour operators indicate that some groups request specific travel programs in Pattaya, ask for entertainment venues and request hotels that allow outsiders to stay.

The study shows that seminar tourist groups and marriage groups spend the most and recommends that Thailand focuses on attracting these visitors while also paying attention to maintaining the millennial tourist base because India has a large young population. However, it also points to a need to modify Thailand’s image as a cheap place to stay and erase its reputation as a ‘sex’ destination.

SOURCE: The Nation

Indian tourist numbers to Thailand steadily climbing | News by The Thaiger

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