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Thailand News Today – Monday, June 22

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Thailand News Today – Monday, June 22 | The Thaiger
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3 killed, 2 injured in Nakhon Si Thammarat crash

3 people have been killed, one an 11 year old girl, and 2 others seriously injured, after the pick-up they were travelling in collided with a roadside tree.

All from the same Nakhon Si Thammarat family, heading to a family burial.

A convoy of 5 cars was heading to Surat Thani and passing through Tha Sala yesterday morning when the ran off the road and slammed into a tree. A man, a woman and an 11 year old girl all died at the scene. The driver and his father were also seriously injured.

Data from the pickup’s dash cam is being examined by police as part of the investigation.

Thailand’s entertainment venues and bars poised to reopen in July

Pubs, clubs and karaoke bars will be allowed to re-open in July. That’s a promise from the committee which has been rolling out Thailand’s gradual re-openings in staged phases.

It will be the fifth phase of lifting the restrictions, originally imposed on all levels of business in Thailand in response to the threats from Covid-19. But, it should be stressed, the good will from the committee now needs to be given assent from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration at its next meeting this Friday before it actually happens.

Talks were held yesterday between Thailand’s deputy Army chief and committee members, along with representatives from venues. Notably, massage parlours weren’t mentioned in the reports about the meeting.

Bangkok’s revamped Khaosan Road ready to open in August, without international tourists

Bangkok’s Khaosan Road, for decades a pilgrimage for backpackers from all over the world, looks set to reopen in August.

A well-loved tourist mecca for browsing, eating and night life, the thoroughfare has undergone a big make-over during lock-down, and now boasts a new road surface, traffic barriers and newly-planted trees.

Some $1.4 million has been spent on the makeover.

Repeated (and controversial) attempts to remove street vendors from the famous strip have so far failed, although vendors are yet to be chosen to set up their stalls on the street.

There’s been plenty of praise for the revamp, but others say it will destroy the unique character and atmosphere that used to draw travellers from around the world.

Experts say just arresting teens doesn’t stop street racing

It’s going to take more than simply arresting street racers to stop the so-called ‘dek waen’ motorbike riders from speeding through city streets, police say.

The next step in eradicating the illegal races is to crack down on the mechanic shops and garages that modify the engines and sell all the noisy upgrades to the scooters and motorcycles.

Now the deputy rector of Rangsit University says authorities need to do more than arrest the young riders and instead target the motorcycle shops that sell the modifications.

Pattaya’s beaches remain party and alcohol-free zones

Police in Pattaya are warning beach-goers that a ban on parties and the consumption of alcohol on the city’s beaches still remains in force.

Officers say they are monitoring all local beaches, particularly at weekends. They say that most beach-goers appear to have abandoned wearing face masks, and an increasing number of beer bottles can now be seen on the city’s beaches.

Police say they are primarily issuing gentle reminders.

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Tourism

Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic

Maya Taylor

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Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The Stockholm office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has conducted a survey in which 62% of respondents say they want to spend winter in Thailand provided restrictions are lifted. The top destinations are Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak, followed by Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao, Bangkok, and Hua Hin.

68% say they would cancel bookings if the 14-day quarantine remains in place. 26% say they would still go ahead, and 13% said they’d be in favour of quarantine being cut to 10 days. 99% of participants say they would be worried about testing positive for Covid-19 after travel plans have been made.

Meanwhile, the TAT’s London office has also been busy, carrying out a survey in conjunction with market research firm, YouGov. The idea behind the survey was to get an idea of the future of tourism once the pandemic is over.

4,127 people took part, with 75% of them saying they’re prepared to be vaccinated if it’s required for travel. 41% are against mandatory quarantine, although 52% would accept a 5-day quarantine. 62% of those planning holidays are over the age of 50 and interested in countries with low infection rates.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says the findings of the survey indicate that up to 6 million people are interested in travelling to Thailand at some point this year.

Meanwhile, a number of online travel agency platforms in France have also carried out a survey. The poll, conducted by companies such as Go Voy, Opodo, and eDreams, showed that the number of hits to tourism-related websites rose by 15% once the success of Covid-19 vaccines was announced. The top destinations searched for were Dubai at 49%, Marrakesh at 27%, and Bangkok at 25%.

Another travel survey in the Americas found that most holidaymakers have chosen to postpone their trips by 7 months to a year, rather than cancelling completely. Siripakorn says that booking flexibility is a priority for Americans.

“Flexibility to reschedule is the top priority for American tourists, followed by safety. These tourists are looking for safety, no quarantine, flexibility, and no deposit.”

Meanwhile, a report issued by Skift Research shows that travel will not recover until 2023 and will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Long Buddhist holiday to see over 40 percent reduction in domestic tourism

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Long Buddhist holiday to see over 40 percent reduction in domestic tourism | The Thaiger

The long Buddhist festival holiday, which starts today, is set to see over a 40% reduction in domestic tourism. The Tourism and Transport Authority of Thailand has made the estimation which tallies around 1.09 million domestic trips, a number that is down 44% from last year’s Makha Bucha Day.

The 2nd wave of the Covid pandemicthis year has made potential tourists cautious about spending money, with the holiday forecasted to yield 3.9 billion baht. That number is 38% lower than the same period last year. Hotel occupancy rates are also expected to only be 50% of last year’s tally on average.

Other venues that are normally open for tourists on this holiday, such as the ancient Buddha’s footprint at Khao Khitchakut in Chanthaburi, have been closed out of fears for Covid spreading through mass gatherings. As one of the country’s top 10 religious events, it is indicative of how the 2nd wave has taken a toll on the country’s tourism. The event’s closing is attributed to the forecasted 74% drop in trips to Thailand’s northeastern region, otherwise known as Isaan. And, if there are less tourists, then there is less revenue. The cancellation is expected to decrease expenditures by 68% on average.

Meanwhile, the 2nd wave is also affecting airlines as Thai AirAsia has reported only 9.49 million passengers with an average load factor of 75% for 2020, posting a net loss of 4.76 billion baht with a total revenue of 16.3 billion baht.

Thai VietJet’s marketing manager says before the 2nd wave hit late last year, the airline was on the upswing, operating 120 domestic flights per day. Recently, top economic leaders have warned that Thailand’s tourism industry will fallout soon if it is not revived. The 60 plus year industry is in dire trouble with slow vaccine rollouts, country travel restrictions, and virus variants all being major factors in Thailand’s slow reopening of tourism.

With the vaccine set to be issued to tourism hotspots first, PM Prayut has stated that the government is mulling whether to allow tourists to skip quarantine requirements if they can show that they have received the Covid vaccine.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Politics

Jailed former politicians await outcome of bail hearing

Maya Taylor

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Jailed former politicians await outcome of bail hearing | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Reuters

8 former politicians, now behind bars for their role in protests that toppled the Yingluck Shinawatra administration and led to the 2014 military coup, are waiting for the outcome of their bail hearing. The detainees, all former members of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, are Suthep Thaugsuban, Issara Somchai, Chumpol Julsai, the Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam, Education Minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan, the Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Suwit Thongprasert and Samdin Lertbutr.

Their legal team is being led by Sawat Charoenphon, who says he’s hopeful the court will respond favourably to the request. The 8 were jailed earlier this week, alongside 18 others for their part in street protests in 2013 and 2014 which toppled the Yingluck Shinawatra government and ended with the 2014 military coup in which Prayut Chan-o-cha was installed as PM. According to the Bangkok Post, they were found guilty on charges of insurrection, criminal association, illegal assembly, and obstructing others from casting votes.

Sawat says he has visited the 8 former PDRC members, reporting that they were all fine after their first night in Bangkok Remand Prison. They were also visited by Warong Dechgitvigrom from the Thai Pakdee Party, who reported that Suthep was constantly smiling.

Rangsima Rodrasamee, a Democrat MP for the central province of Samut Songkhram, herself a co-defendant but acquitted, says she only managed to speak to Buddhipongse and Suwit during her visit, due to the number of visitors waiting. She says Buddhipongse and Suwit appeared to be in good spirits but tired from a lack of sleep.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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