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Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Reluctance to join single-visa scheme could prove to be costly
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Thailand has to revise its strategy concerning a regional single visa scheme, or it could lose millions of tourists to neighboring countries, which are kicking off the “CLMV Single Visa” next year without the Kingdom’s participation.

Five countries – Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar – agreed in 2005 to relax immigration procedures to attract more non-ASEAN visitors to the region under the framework of Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation. They created the “Five Countries One Destination” campaign and ACMEC Single Visa to attract tourists from outside the region, especially from Europe, North America and Australia.

Tourists applying for a visa at any of the countries would automatically be allowed entry to the other four countries under the scheme, which is similar to Europe’s Schengen system.

In July, the CLMV Single Visa was launched by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

These four nations plan to promote the new visa scheme to targeted markets at the World Travel Mart in London from November 5-8 and to alliances at the world’s largest tourism trade fair in Germany early next year.

Thanate Vorasaran, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said on Tuesday that Thailand was left out because of its stance on issuing visas.

The government, after years of negotiation, refused to join the agreement, saying it already permitted visitors from up to 45 nations to enter without a visa.

Thailand also signed a deal with Cambodia in 2007 for a single-visa scheme, but it is not yet activated. However, at all border checkpoints, Thai officials are ready to assist third-country tourists from Cambodia to pass through immigration.

Besides its unclear policy, Thailand was also suspected of fearing a loss of revenue from visa fees if it joined ACMEC, which requires tourists to pay the fee at the country of entry.

“In fact, all four countries need Thailand because they want tourists from Thailand,” Thanate said.

“Thailand alone received 20 million visitors in 2011, [compared with] more than the 12.3 million combined arrivals in the four countries. Thailand projects 26 million tourists in 2015 while CLMV nations aim at 25 million.”

China is now the largest source of Thai tourism revenue. Thailand could earn more than 1 billion baht per year in visa fees from the more than 2 million Chinese tourists expected to travel to the Kingdom.

About 2.2 million Chinese are expected to visit Thailand this year, up from 1.7 million last year. If neighboring countries waive visa fees for the Chinese, Thailand will suffer a huge loss. Tourists from third countries may shift to destinations in Indochina and Myanmar.

Vietnam was reported as having already waived entry permits for Chinese tourists, but the visa fee has been retained.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), has been urging the government for years to waive the visa fee for Chinese visitors.

“Private operators in Thailand now fear that inbound tourism will drop if non-ASEAN tourists enjoy greater convenience when entering other countries. Though we are in a strategic location, we will be unable to grasp the opportunity,” he said.

To build tourism competitiveness, the TCT and ATTA urged the Foreign Ministry to rejoin the CLMV Single Visa by fine-tuning the agreement or doing more bilateral deals with each country.

Kongkrit Hirantakit, a tourism adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, said cross-border and intra-regional travel were parts of the main focus of the government to improve Thailand’s tourism industry. He has advised the Foreign and Tourism ministries to link Thai tourism with all ASEAN countries to regain the country’s competitiveness. Thai tourism’s edge has already dropped for five straight years despite the growth in arrivals.

Thailand’s share of the regional tourism market plunged from 38 per cent in 2008 to 33 per cent last year. Singapore and Malaysia became key rivals, as they have developed many new attractions and continue progressive plans.

About 80 million visitors travel into the region. Of them, 36 million or 45 per cent are from ASEAN countries and 44 million are from outside the region.

The average growth of tourism for the region is 6-7 per cent, a little higher than for the Asia-Pacific region.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Phuket

Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today

The Thaiger

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Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | The Thaiger

Navy officers are in the process of dismantling and removing the Phuket seastead today.

About 300 navy officers are currently in the process removing the structure off the south east coast of the island. The operation is expected to be done by today, according to a spokesperson. The seastead will be kept at the Phuket Deap Sea Port as evidence in the case against the builders, Ocean Builders, and Thai/American couple who had been ‘living’ there for a short time.

The Phuket Vice Governor Supot Rodrueng Na Nongkhai says documents will be summited to the Office of Attorney General within one week.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court will force the Thai Government to test its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute on friday, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said Thai officials could remove the floating structure from the seas off the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger  Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | News by The Thaiger

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Plastics

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | The Thaiger

By the end of 2019 Thailand will be free from three types of plastic – microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastics.

Then by 2022 four other types of single-use plastics will also be banned – lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick; styrofoam food containers for takeaways; plastic cups and plastic straws – according to a road map approved by the Cabinet.

The Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030 also includes an ambitious plan for Thailand to use 100 per cent recycled plastic by 2027 in various forms, including turning waste into energy.

The Cabinet has acknowledged the road map and assigned the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry to formulate a draft action plan for plastic waste management, so it is in line with the 20-year national strategy.

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

The Cabinet also called for clear details on related agencies’ role in the integration of the work for managing plastic waste, which will also get huge participation from the private and business sectors. The related state agencies should create various mechanisms to propel this forward such as creating a good understanding among agencies, continuously implementing a public relations campaign via social media to achieve the set goals, the Cabinet instructed.

The work procedure must consider lifecycle plastic-waste management so steps are taken from the very start: with plastic products designed applying the “Eco Design” approach, manufacturing and post-consumption disposal which will include garbage separation, transport and storing, recycling and proper disposal.

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thais generate as much as 1.14 kilogram of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tonnes of waste per year.

One person uses approximately eight plastic bags a day – or 500 million plastic bags per day for the whole nation.

Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans, accounting for 16% of garbage in the seas.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Sun

A 200 kilogram tourist, who forced flight crews to wipe his bum as he moaned with pleasure in January, has died on Koh Samui.

The American, who hasn’t been named, died whilst staying on the Gulf island due to an undisclosed illness. But he has left an indelible memory in his wake.

At the same time, as the news emerged about his demise, EVA Air were putting plans in motion to ban the oversize traveller from flying with their airline ever again.

The man shocked readers is January when he was accused of forcing cabin crew to strip him in a cramped airline toilet (remember this guy weighed 200 kilograms) and wipe his bum while he “moaned with pleasure”.

The incident occurred on an EVA Air long-haul flight from LA to Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport and was covered extensively on world media.

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

A flight attendant, who on the same flight, described how the passenger boarded the plane in a wheelchair and then insisted on having three adjoining seats in economy class due to his size. He then demanded to use the plane’s business class lavatory, as he couldn’t fit into the economy toilets.

But (put down your food if eating) while in the toilet, he demanded cabin crew strip him down so he could relieve himself, saying he had an arm injury that prevented him from doing it himself.

“I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor. As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty.”

“But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.”

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

The flight attendant who ‘assisted’ the man should be awarded lots of medals and a lifetime supply of latex gloves

The passenger then asked crew to wipe his bum for him leading him to groan as the chief attendant fulfilled his request while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.

“He said: ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again,” recalled the attendant, who was holding onto the passenger to keep him steady.

She said the attendant repeated the action three times before the man said, “You can pull my pants back up now.”

The two female flight attendants involved, who both said they were traumatised by the incident in January, are both on extended paid leave.

The Sun.co.uk, reporting this story, says that “Party island Ko Samui – the second largest island in Thailand – is known for its prostitution and seedy nightlife.”

Despite the source, the incident has been widely reported by ‘respectable media’ on January 20 this year, and the large man has indeed passed away on Koh Samui.

SOURCE: The Sun

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

‘The Sun’ confuses Koh Samui with Walking Street

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