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Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions

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

News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking

The Thaiger & The Nation

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News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | The Thaiger

After news hit of an American being arrested and sued for defamation over leaving a bad review about a Koh Chang hotel on TripAdvisor, many are taking to the internet to voice their opinions on the issue. The Sea View Resort owners say it tried in vain to negotiated with Wesley Barnes after he posted the reviews, but he continued to post completely untrue comments.

The owners released a five-page statement after the news of it suing the American gained widespread attention. You can read their response HERE. Then, Barnes submitted his own response detailing the situation which was also published online.

News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The ThaigerNews of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by The Thaiger

Now, the story has gained even more attention as netizens have begun posting their opinions on the controversial issue of Thailand’s defamation laws. Below, are some of those posts on The Thaiger’s Facebook page.

“Can someone clarify for me Thailand’s position on people leaving honest bad reviews as my girlfriend says it’s fine to leave a bad review of a business and it’s not defamation if honest of course? I have heard people say that you simply can’t leave bad honest reviews at all here but that sounds ridiculous. The thing about many Thais is that they think they’re beyond reproach. They can’t accept criticism because it’s not aligned with their grandiose self-image. Many also have a torrid time when it comes to ownership of their own actions and decision making.”

“OMG! He is arrested for a review.?! I know of an expat in Malaysia that wrote a bad review about a Thai-owned resort in Penang and he was sued as well. Be careful with what you share in that neck of the woods.”

“It’s one thing to leave a bad review but to throw in “modern slavery” remarks escalates to thai defamation law. He shouldn’t be arrested for his comments but you need to respect the country laws no matter how crazy they seem compared to your own country. This press is going to negatively affect the business way more than that review would have done though.”

“The owner should have settled with the review platforms privately and move on. I would hardly hold up Trip Advisor as a beacon of truth, however some people write extremely personal and vindictive comments that go beyond a review, in an attempt to gain product or refunds in return, this is an absolute fact, and hopefully this might make people think before they start writing reviews that are not exactly honest, I have read stories critical of the General Managers because they didn’t contact the guests, some really petty reviews by rather petty people.”

If Barnes is indeed found to be guilty of defamation, he could spend up to 2 years in prison and pay up to a 200,000 baht fine.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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