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Phuket hotel registration remains a challenge

Bill Barnett

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Phuket hotel registration remains a challenge | The Thaiger

Phuket is attracting an ever-increasing number of international visitors to our golden beaches and turquoise seas.

But many of the millions of travellers who visit Phuket each year could be staying in unlicensed – and effectively illegal – hotels. According to a new report by hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks, less than a quarter of hotels in Phuket (429 out of 1,724) are currently licensed.

This issue was brought into sharp focus late last year when former Phuket’s Governor Chokchai Dejamornthan, announced plans for a crackdown on unlicensed hotels in the island province. At the time, Governor Chokchai urged the travelling public not to stay in unregistered hotels.

But despite a deadline of 31st January 2017 being set for offending hotels to become legally registered, C9 Hotelworks has underscored that, six months later, the situation remains challenged.

Data from Phuket’s Provincial Administration Office shows that of the 1,295 unlicensed hotels identified in Phuket, only six have had their licenses approved. A further 1,001 are pending approval, while 288 have not yet applied.

A disconnect in regulation could be hindering the licensing process.

Phuket’s provincial government has undertaken an admirable large-scale initiative to tackle the proliferation of unlicensed hotels.

Currently the main challenges for the process are the strict regulations associated with the Thailand-wide Building Control and Hotel Act’s. As a result of these mandates, the province is considering reviewing the requirements to support the conversation process.

Local authorities are under pressure to tackle this issue, as strong demand from emerging economies continues to drive a sharp increase in tourism arrivals to Phuket. For example, Russian passenger traffic at Phuket International Airport jumped 17% in the first five months of 2017, while arrivals from Mainland China rose 8%. With 17 Chinese airlines now flying into Phuket, Mainland China accounts for two-thirds of Asian traffic at the island’s airport.

Hotel development in Phuket also continues to gather pace; according to C9 Hotelworks’ pipeline analysis, there are now 33 hotels being developed across the island, which will add 5,738 more rooms to Phuket’s inventory. These include major global brands such as Sheraton, JW Marriott, Best Western, InterContinental, Park Hyatt, Kempinski, Ramada and Rosewood.

With so many new hotels due enter the market in the coming months and years, Phuket’s authorities are mandated to ensure regulatory processes are stringent and effective, whilst the reality is not being overly complex or bureaucratic. At the same time private sector investment into the hotel industry is racing ahead of the public sector.

Without the ability to apply hotel tax to unlicensed properties, the island is being denied much needed revenue that could be reinvested into infrastructure. There remains an imperative to ensure that the 1,295 unlicensed hotels currently operating in Phuket are dealt with swiftly and effectively, to ensure the issue does not do damage to the island’s international reputation.

Many of Southeast Asia’s surging mass tourism resort markets face a similar issue to Phuket. One case in point is Bali where the official registered number of hotels stands at 317, with 33,599 rooms according to the Indonesian government’s Badan Pusat Statistik. In reality inventory stands well above that of Phuket.

Government regulating bodies have to understand the close relationship between hotel licensing and tax issues in order to not be left out in the cold.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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Man stung by scorpion hiding in bag of fruit

May Taylor

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Man stung by scorpion hiding in bag of fruit | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Wikiwand

A Bangkok man has taken to social media to warn fruit lovers to check fruit thoroughly before eating it, after he was stung by a baby scorpion hiding in a bag of langsat fruit.

Pennung Chaiyachit says he put his hand in the bag, which contained about 2 kilos of the fruit, when he felt a sharp pain as if his thumb had been cut.

Mr Pennung washed his thumb and poured some rubbing alcohol on it but, despite there being no visible wound or any bleeding, his pain began to get worse and he decided to drive to hospital.

While waiting to see a doctor, Mr Pennung did an internet search which revealed a breed of tiny scorpion that can live on langsat fruit and has particularly powerful venom.

Man stung by scorpion hiding in bag of fruit | News by The Thaiger

The doctor decided to keep Mr Pennung in overnight as a precaution, giving him antibiotics and administering pain relief through IV.

Mr Pennung documented his experience on Facebook as a warning to others, advising them to always check bags of fruit thoroughly and always wash fruit before peeling.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Pet leopard not a hit with neighbours in Chonburi, Thailand

May Taylor

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Pet leopard not a hit with neighbours in Chonburi, Thailand | The Thaiger

A couple in Chonburi, eastern Thailand, have not ingratiated themselves with neighbours after it was revealed they’re keeping a pet leopard in their home.

It’s understood that a Thai woman known as Nittiya, and her foreign husband, nationality unconfirmed, have just recently moved to the area from Chiang Mai, and news of their unusual pet has put neighbours very much on edge.

The couple have just had a visit from the Thailand Wildlife Enforcement Network (Thailand-WEN) after anxious villagers notified officials, saying they believed the leopard had been acquired illegally.

They added that the leopard was living in the couple’s home and being treated as a pet, expressing concern that it could escape and attack people.

Yesterday, officials visited the home, which is surrounded by a 3-metre-high wall. Nittaya explained that the couple have had the leopard – named Typhoon – since it was born 4 years ago, producing the required documentation for inspection.

Officials agreed that the couple have the right to keep the leopard, but will need to apply for a new licence to keep it in its new location.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala, Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala, Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Newshawk Phuket

Not often we get to write this headline… “JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala”.

The jetski was being towed by a Saleng (motorcycle and side-car) through the streets of Kamala this afternoon when, for reasons we don’t yet (probably brake failure), the whole shebang went AWOL and ended up running into the front window of some tourist shops.

The jetskis are a common sight going through the backroads of the various west-coast shopping areas at the start and end of each day, on their way to the beach to hire to tourists, usually in a convoy with the jetski staff riding shotgun on top.

This time it was a lone JetSki, being towed by a saleng, that somehow veered off the street and into the roadside Kamala shops.

JetSki crashes into shop in Kamala, Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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