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Thailand News Today | No STV tourists, Boss in Dubai, border fears in Tak | October 13

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Daily news about Thailand. Latest information, and tourism and visa news.

No one in Guangzhou applied for the Special Tourist Visa, Foreign Ministry

In a stunning revelation yesterday, it turns out that not a single person from Guangzhou, China, actually applied for the new Special Tourist Visa.

That’s the sad and bizarre truth, according to Thai media outlet Siamrath. Around 120 to 150 tourists had “planned” to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China, but “administrative issues” were claimed to be the reason for the delayed flight.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand apparently released a list of Chinese tourists who had signed up indicating their “interest” in the new visa scheme, but never actually went through the process of applying for the visa, or were ever actually coming to Phuket, according to Siamrath.

According to their article, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Natthaphanu Noppakhun told Thai reporters that no one in Guangzhou had actually applied for the special tourist visa.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said in an earlier report that the flight delay was due to issues in the process for applying and issuing the Special Tourists Visas, clearly a massive mis-speaking of the actual situation.

As of our time of publishing today’s Thailand News Today, there has been no official comments from the government concerning the apparent misunderstanding.

Thai police to verify “Boss” whereabouts with UAE embassy

Following recent reports that the elusive Red Bull heir, Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, is living in Dubai, Thai police say they’re writing to the UAE embassy to verify the claims.

Boss is wanted in relation to a 2012 hit-and-run incident that claimed the life of a 47 year old Bangkok policeman. The man died after his bike was dragged 100 metres by a Ferrari driven by Boss, which then fled the scene.

Incredibly, Boss managed to flee Thailand in 2017, after years of evading numerous court appearances. Charges, that were initially dropped against him in July this year, have recently been re-instated following an independent inquiry called on by the Thai PM.

The Assistant National Police Chief says Thai police are submitting a letter to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates, and says…

“We want to confirm with the local authorities whether he is in the UAE or not. If he is, we will coordinate with them to extradite him to Thailand so he can face trial.”

Domestic tourism survey indicates long road to recovery

A government survey looking at the travel habits of domestic tourists indicates an uphill struggle for the tourism industry’s recovery.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office says around a quarter of those surveyed travelled during weekends and holidays, but most spent less than 5,000 baht per trip.

Those surveyed were also asked if they planned to travel this month, with nearly 48% saying they have no plans to do so.

Commenting about the survey, the Commerce Ministry spokesperson said…

“From the survey results, there are indications that domestic tourism might not recover in the second half of the year. Entrepreneurs in the tourism industry need to adjust their strategy to suit consumer behaviour in the new normal era.”

Border schools close for cleaning, thousands test for Covid-19 after Burmese truck drivers test positive

Nearly a dozen schools in Tak’s Mae Sot district have closed today to be disinfected, and around 4,000 people in the community are expected to be tested for Covid-19.

All this follows 3 Burmese cargo truck drivers testing positive for the virus after crossing through a border checkpoint.

Those in communities deemed at high-risk have been told not to leave their home, unless it’s essential. They’re also being reminded to wear a face masks, stick to social distancing and sanitising their hands. Reports do not say how long the 11 local schools will be closed for.

The second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is open again today, and many cargo trucks arrived from Myanmar’s Myawaddy town to unload goods and head back to Myanmar.

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Road deaths

1st day of Songkran road safety campaign – 356 injuries, 25 deaths

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1st day of Songkran road safety campaign – 356 injuries, 25 deaths | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's notorious traffic and hazardous road conditions

The Songkran road safety campaign is off to a moderate start with a reported 25 deaths and 356 injuries across Thailand on Saturday. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general reports that there were 348 road accidents in the country on the first day of the campaign.

Though the figures don’t sound like an achievement, they are actually a fair bit lower than the average road death toll each day in Thailand throughout the year. Officials say that the real rush back home for the annual holiday will probably be tomorrow.

About 83% of the accidents involved motorbikes, 7.5% involved pick-up trucks and 4% were with cars. The biggest percentage of incidents happened between 4 and 8 pm, with 28% of accidents occurring in the late afternoon and early evening. Around 20% of crashes were between 8 am and noon, and 17% between noon and 4 pm.

Speeding is the number one cause of traffic accidents, with 32% of incidents a result of people driving too fast. Sudden lane switches, regardless of speed, contributed to about 20% of crashes. Alcohol was another major contributing factor, with intoxicated drivers involved in 23% of accidents that were attributed to drink-driving.

Bangkok, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai saw 2 fatalities on the roads of each province, while Phatthalung province in Southern Thailand had 22 injuries from 20 traffic accidents, the most in any province in Thailand.

As part of the Songkran road safety campaign, 342,000 cars, trucks and motorbikes were stopped and inspected by over 60,000 officials across Thailand yesterday. There are 1.913 main road checkpoints set up throughout the entire country. More than 58,000 citations were handed out to drivers for many different infractions, notably over 16,000 drivers were caught without a license and nearly 15,000 people were violating Thailand’s helmet laws by riding without one.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Road deaths

Thailand road accidents cost 500 billion baht per year

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Thailand road accidents cost 500 billion baht per year | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand - the most dangerous roads in Asia?

Thailand is notorious for its road and driving conditions, and a disproportionate number of driving accidents. The World Health Organisation now reports that road accidents cost an estimated 500 billion baht in 2019 alone. The WHO report placed Thailand as the number one country in ASEAN with a 32.7 per cent death rate, the highest in Southeast Asia. The Road Accident Victims Protection Co explains that the WHO calculates the financial damages of driving deaths in different countries around the world. Thailand’s 500 billion baht loss amounts to about 3 per cent of the country’s entire 2019 gross domestic product of 16.87 trillion baht.

By analyzing statistics and making projections about road deaths from 2021 to 2027, the estimates during the next 6 years that Thailand is facing an average of about 15,400 deaths per year in the best case, and looking a worst case scenario of over 18,600 deaths per year in traffic accidents. Adding an extra depressing edge to this gruesome statistic, the report shows that nearly 40% of those killed in traffic accidents are the heads of households. With the loss of the family head, an average of 2.43 people per death lose the support of their primary family earner, putting them in peril. The death of younger household leaders, and other untimely and unnatural deaths also may contribute in the longterm to a disparity in an aging population.

2020 saw a strong drop in road accidents and deaths, from 22,000 in 2019 to just under 18,000 fatalities, though this drop is mainly due to the national lockdown in April and general decrease in travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If Covid-19 improves in the coming month and the country springs back to life, the number of deaths are likely to spring back as well. Estimates show that road fatalities could return to 19,000-20,000 in all of 2021, which is about 1 death every 26 minutes. Worldwide about 317,000 people die in driving accidents every year, or about 1 every 23 seconds.

SOURCE: The Nation Thailand

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Songkran

Songkran activities cancelled in Ayutthaya due to Covid-19

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Songkran activities cancelled in Ayutthaya due to Covid-19 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Ayutthaya traditionally has elaborate Songkran celebrations

After the recent outbreak of Covid-19 across Thailand, in a large part due to entertainment activities, Thailand’s former capital city of Ayutthaya has now officially cancelled all Songkran festival activities for the upcoming holiday. All events previously planned to mark the Thai New Year’s holiday between April 13 and 15 have now been called off. An urgent declaration by the provincial governor today informed the public of the decision. Many people across the country are cancelling Songkran events or any observance of the holiday at all.

The decision by the province’s Songkran committee and the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Ayutthaya office was directed especially at tourists who may be planning to travel to the area for traditional festivities. Complex and ornate events had been planned, scheduled to be held on Si Sanphet road, with the sudden cancellation announcement abruptly ending the preparations for holiday merriment.

TAT and the local government agreed that the cancellation was necessary to prevent the possible spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in light of the current outbreak across Thailand. In Ayutthaya, 86 people have been infected with 21 new cases diagnosed yesterday. In an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Ayutthaya Hospital issued a statement limiting visits for hospital patients. The hospital encourages people to do video calls with their relatives as the hospital will only allow one relative to spend time with each patient. This overall situation led to the official decision to call off all Songkran festivities.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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