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Thailand News Today | Monk busted over ‘ice’ alms | January 29

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Thailand News Today | Monk busted over ‘ice’ alms | January 29 | The Thaiger
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Police arrested a 45 year old Buddhist monk for allegedly getting high on methamphetamine at a temple in the north eastern province of Buriram. The monk allegedly told police that a follower gave him the drugs as a merit gift and convinced him to take it.

Local police say they received a complaint from the Baan Kok Mueng temple’s abbot claiming that a monk at the temple was acting suspiciously and that the monk could be involved in illegal activities.

Police investigated the claims and had the monk do a drug test. The monk tested positive for drugs and was then forced to the leave the monkhood.

His explanation to police was that a follower had offered him the drugs, as well as the equipment to take the drugs, as a merit gift.

But the man had a history of drug use and apparently became a monk to start a new life. He had been arrested in the past for allegedly possessing 15 methamphetamine pills.

A 59 year old teacher and owner of a tutoring centre in Chon Buri’s Bang Saen district has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 15 year old student.

Police say the sexual abuse was caught on camera. In a video obtained by police, the teacher was seen touching the student’s breasts along with other sexually explicit approaches while she was playing on her phone. Thai media posted screenshots of the video clearly showing the misconduct.

The teacher was arrested on charges of committing an indecent act on a person over 15 years of age. Police say the man admitted to the charges.

The name of the school has not been released due to the ongoing investigation.

Without much other good news on the horizon, Pattaya officials have celebrated almost two weeks of no new Covid-19 infections with a celebratory ‘scrub down’ of the infamous Walking Street. The ritual ‘wetting’, in the Songkran tradition, was seen as a new beginning, washing away the bad spirits and the bad times that has fallen on the once-busy red light district.

Pattaya’s Mayor, along with a platoon of city officials, local business owners and city workers, scrubbed the grotty pavements with plenty of suds for the camera as part of a wider make-over for the street that was proposed a year ago.

The ‘new beginning’ coincided with some good news for the battered tourist city.

Massage shops and spas, Tattoo studios and beauty clinics are now allowed to reopen. Gyms, pools, fitness centres, saunas and massage shops offering “soapies” were not included in the order.

Most Thai residents and tourism operators want the country to reopen borders to international tourists, as long as a 14 day quarantine still in place… this according to the Tourism Council of Thailand survey.

785 operators in tourism-related business and 1,444 Thais were surveyed. 60% of surveyed locals and 50% of tourism operators agree with the idea to reopen the borders as long as the 14 day quarantine stays in place.

60% of tourism operators say foreign visitors should enter on the Special Tourist Visa and undergo a 14 day quarantine in closed areas with the opportunity to do recreational activities.

Some 53% of operators say Thailand should welcome independent tourists from low risk countries while also requiring them to undergo a mandatory 10 to 14 day quarantine.

Packages of crystal methamphetamine worth around 51 million baht were found washed up on Koh Samui’s Hat Koh Taen beach yesterday. Police suspect the drugs are from a vessel which sank off the coast of Vietnam while carrying a large shipment of drugs.

Police say 100 kilograms of methamphetamine were found on the coast of Vietnam on December 10. Just last week, 3 other 1 kilogram packages of crystal methamphetamine were found on Chaiya’s Hat Niyom beach on the coast of Surat Thani. Police suspect the drugs are from the same shipment.

In all cases, the packages were tightly wrapped in 3 layers with pictures of carps and Chinese characters.

802 new Covid-19 cases were announced to the media today during the CCSA daily briefing.

Most of the cases were found through active contact tracing, which was rolled out in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the latest wave of infections. The province has set up various field hospitals to treat the patients and to contain the virus.

Out of the 802 cases, 692 cases were detected through pro-active testing, 89 were local transmissions and 21 cases were detected in quarantine for those arriving in Thailand from abroad.

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Thailand

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update

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45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | The Thaiger

Thailand reports 45 new cases of Covid-19cases today, with 37 infections being locally-transmitted. 8 of those infections were imported, raising the total amount of infections since the pandemic began to 25,809.

The Department of Disease Control reports that 32 cases were confirmed at hospitals with 5 confirmed through active case finding in communities.

Samut Sakhon province, the 2nd wave epicentre, reported over half of the new cases at 19. 14 of those cases were confirmed at hospitals and 5 were detected in Myanmar communities. Bangkok has reported 3 new cases, Nakhon Nayok reported 5, Chai Nat 3, Nakhon Pathom 3, Saraburi 2, Prachuap Khiri Khan 1, and Samut Prakan 1.

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | News by The Thaiger

The 8 imported cases were those under quarantine arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Kuwait. The case from the UK was that of a 6 year old Thai schoolgirl.

Globally, Covid-19 cases rose by 444,466 over the past day to 113.54 million. The worldwide death toll increased by 10,552 to 2.52 million. The United States still has the most cases at 29.5 million, with the most deaths at 520,785.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

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

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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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