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Phuket Opinion: ‘No budget’ no excuse for road mayhem

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Opinion: ‘No budget’ no excuse for road mayhem | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Last year we pointed out the irony of the central government’s nine-million-baht investment in the Patong City welcome sign on the Patong Hill road, at a time when local authorities were telling us it was impossible to come up with the meager funds needed to simply paint lines on that notorious road.

Now, five months later, the bizarre sign – actually, more of a monument – is a fait accompli but the road that runs past it remains without any of the markings necessary to prevent head-on collisions or vehicles running off the road because they can’t see where it’s going.

The problem is hardly restricted to Patong Hill. As anyone familiar with roads across the island will attest, the absence of clear lane markers is an island-wide problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

For two weeks every year, during the New Year and Songkran Festival holiday periods, police set up checkpoints around the island to try to limit the number of accidents.

Daily reports are issued along with grim tallies of the dead and injured. Along with these figures, officials are asked to mark down the cause of each accident from a list of several options that include such expected causes as “drunk driving” and “speeding”.

In Phuket the most common option is neither of these, however, but the final one that reads “other”.

The Phuket Gazette feels, and many officials agree, that this in large part reflects the deplorable state of the roads here. A culture of carelessness, potholes, poorly-designed speed bumps and numerous other factors all contribute to Phuket’s road safety notoriety.

But of all the possible solutions, the easiest and cheapest way by far to keep tour buses from falling off cliffs and cars from driving into roadside homes is simply to mark the roads to something that at least approaches international standards – including the use of long-lasting, reflective paint.

Keeping our roadways well-marked and well-lit should be among the most important duties of every local administration, as well as other government agencies with responsibility for road safety. But these same organizations tend to sit on their hands and simply look the other way – while death stares them in the face.

It’s time to give a rest to the chalk used to outline the dead and maimed in the road, and to bring out the paint. To fail in this evokes notions of manslaughter.

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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily

Tim Newton

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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | The Thaiger

Sad news yesterday when The Nation announced it was going to stop the daily publishing of its newspaper. After 48 years, The Nation Multimedia Group is shutting up shop on its daily newspaper.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected and is a decision that every newspaper has either already made, is constantly reviewing or will have to make in the future, probably soon. The Nation Multimedia Group’s CEO maintained that there would be no reductions in editorial staff. When these announcements are made there is always promises of a rosy online future and no reductions in staff. In reality there has to be a reduction in staff to make the transition from paper to online fiscally possible.

For The Nation it was somewhat of a perfect storm of problems that precipitated yesterday’s announcement to go online-only.

Thailand’s expat and english-speaking demographic is changing. The numbers of English-speaking expats is dropping (not a lot) but the numbers of non English-speaking expats is growing. The same is reflected in the tourist mix passing through the Kingdom these days. It’s just an evolutionary transition that’s also reflected in the nationalities buying property in Thailand.

A hard core of expats, some of The Nation’s devout readers, are also finding it increasingly difficult to stay in Thailand. Take a long-term British expat for example, living happily on their UK pension and spending long days by the beach. With the British pound plunging against the Thai baht the real cost of living has gone up, a lot, for many of these long-termers. Then add the steadily rising costs of living in Thailand and new requirements for long-stay visas and the long days at the beach are getting more expensive and more complex.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Then

The expat mix is also getting a lot younger. You guessed it, younger people are more inclined to read their news and seek information online.

Finally, the advertising revenue for newspapers is getting very thin on the ground. Newspaper advertising is expensive, non-intuitive and certainly not ‘real time’ as demanded by both readers and advertisers. Why would any sane business owner place an ad in their newspaper when, for a fraction of the cost, they can directly target THEIR buyers with an online ad. AND it’s totally measurable.

Just current economic conditions – a strong baht, falling exports and political uncertainty – are eating into business advertising spend and confidence as well.

There’s also a lot more choice for advertisers these days as the revenue creeps away from the old triumvirate of press, radio and TV. At the same time online platform traffic soars in numbers and new platforms and innovations get added every day.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Now

The Nation’s daily paper is just another victim of the relentless technological march.

The people (me included) who used to make it a daily habit to trawl through the pages of the dailies are getting older, moving across to the online platforms, or simply dying or leaving Thailand. At the same time a few thousand smartphones will be bought today bringing almost instantaneous news to their screens, along with hundreds of choices of media, opinions, formats and, yes, advertisements.

The sight of people travelling on public transport, or walking around, heads buried in their screens is scary to us ‘old-timers’. But the smartphone, and to a lesser extent tablets, laptops and desktops, is where people will increasingly source just about everything they need to know. They will ‘choose’ what they want to read, not some editor’s view of the world or slanted choices of news to publish.

It’s a sad day when any venerable banner, like The Nation, has to cease publishing but we, the consumers, have determined their fate, and the fate of the remaining newspapers in Thailand, by making the move online. The publishers are adjusting to the new technology as well and following the new money-trail.

The Nation will publish its last daily newspaper on June 28.

The Thaiger has an editorial partnership with the Nation Multimedia Group.

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Opinion

Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand | The Thaiger

OPINION by Dan Cheeseman – Dan About Thailand

We need to wake up and smell the roses, us Westerners are no longer an important group for the Thailand tourism industry – in fact, we are what you would call ‘niche’ – and with good reason.

The Chinese are here in numbers and not only will this continue to grow but they also outspend Europeans per capita by 53% when in Thailand.

There are more Chinese…

The Chinese now account for 57.48% of all tourists in Thailand and what makes this even more staggering is only 8.7% currently have passports (120 million).

According to Jing Travel this could double by 2020 – that means 240 million Chinese able to travel (363% of the UK population – 66 million). They also go on to state that first time Chinese travellers are more likely to travel more close to home to begin with, so places like Vietnam and, you guessed it, Thailand.

Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

And the Chinese share of the pie will only grow.

No wonder Thailand are forecasting tourism to grow from the 38 million now to over 79 million by 2030.

Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

The Chinese Spend More…

Quite often I hear the European retaliation that they would like to see the spend levels per capita of Chinese, suggesting it to be low. This could not be further from the truth as shopping is an important factor for when they go on holiday.

The Chinese expenditure into Thailand is US$15,342,000,000 each year, which is more than any other nation. The average spend per day for a Chinese tourist in Thailand is US$192 – which is 53% more than the average Europeans US$125 daily spend.

Why the Chinese are infinitely more important than Western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Read the rest of the story… Dan About Thailand

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Opinion

“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing | The Thaiger

The rules are applied in a lumpy fashion at various tourist hot spots around the country as well as some national parks. Sometimes it’s applied, sometimes, not, sometimes there are signs, sometime they make it up as they go, sometimes they will allow local expats in for the Thai price.

There are dual-pricing apologists who say ‘Hey, it’s cheap anyway, so pay up and shut up’. Whilst dual-pricing whiners say it’s unfair, racist and shows a lack of grace towards tourists and foreigners.

Here’s the story from ‘Despondant Foreigner’. You can have your say on the post at our Facebook page

“I would like to share my story with you that happened to me this morning. I visited Promlok waterfall in Nakhon Si Thammaratt with my Thai wife, child and wife’s family. Upon arrival two soldiers approached our car and my wife began talking to them. They explained to her that as today is Songkran all Thai’s get to go to the waterfalls free of charge but I had to pay. Then a woman dressed in yellow approached the car who confirmed what the soldiers said and told my wife that this is a new law. Well we were all disgusted and proceeded to drive back down to the bottom of the waterfall where we could all swim for free.

I am absolutely disgusted by this. Yet another example of Thailand’s racial profiling and xenophobia towards foreigners. The fact that I am married and have children here doesn’t make a difference. Because I have white skin I must pay the fee whilst all Thais go in free.”

SOURCE: ThaiVisa

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