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Phuket Smart Bus kicks off

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket Smart Bus kicks off | The Thaiger

The first route of the Phuket Smart Bus has been launched today (February 28) connecting Phuket International Airport all the way to the south of the island – Rawai Beach.

The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Panupong Sawetarun, chaired the opening ceremony of the Phuket Smart Bus. The first route launched today is the blue route, which will be running along the western beach road.

The blue route from Phuket International Airport to Rawai has 50 stops at many popular areas, including Surin Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach before reaching Rawai by the beach road, covering a total of 56 kilometres. There will be 32 rounds of service per day, starting from 6am to 8pm. The estimated traveling time for each bus along the route is 2-3 hours.

The project is the initiative of Phuket City Development Co., Ltd. (PKCD) partnering with Rabbit x Phuket Smartcard for ‘smart’ payment. The buses feature a safety control room, GPS system, CCTV camera, Wi-Fi, USB port at each seat and a lift for disabled passengers. People can go to www.choop.me to plan their travel ahead as well.

“Phuket is a world tourism destination drawing a large number of travelers but still lacks proper public transportation. To travel from the airport to Phuket town or to the beaches should take about 1-2 hours because of the traffic jams which affect the tourism situation in Phuket. The smart bus is part of the longer-term solution for this,” said Watchara Jaruariyanon, Board of Directors of PKCD.

Phuket Smart Bus kicks off | News by The Thaiger

“We only use brand new buses from Mercedes because we trust the quality of the engines and braking systems and provide more space for luggage.”

“People can pay the bus fee through Rabbit x Phuket Smartcard instead of cash. The fee starts at 50 Baht – 170 Baht depending on the distance. The ticket (Rabbit x Phuket Smartcard) can be bought on board with a starting price of 300 Baht (100 Baht for the card fee and 200 Baht to pay for the bus fee). The money in the card can also pay for other products and services with promotions and special discounts at more than 60 leading stores across Phuket that accept the Rabbit Card. The card is also valid for transportation, products and services in Bangkok,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PKCD also cooperates with Visa Card, who is becoming an official partner.

“Payment is a significant factor of transportation and Visa aims to make it fast, convenient and safe for any type of transportation. There are plenty of public transportations across the globe that started using the open loop system,” said Visa Thailand Manager, Suripong Tantiyanon.

“The passengers don’t need to buy a new ticket nor to refill money in the card. It’s easier and safer for their confidential information. In London, the system has been used for 3 years already and Visa is glad to help make Phuket becoming a Smart City.”

Phuket Smart Bus kicks off | News by The Thaiger

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism

Greeley Pulitzer

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism | The Thaiger

Over the past ten years, Asia has become a favourite destination for medical tourism for people from around the world. Besides the white sand beaches, historic monuments and rich cultural legacy, healthcare in Asia is now a major attraction. From transplants and surgeries to dental procedures and botox, people are turning to Asia.

But what makes Asia the most popular destination? Some say lack of specialised treatments in their home countries or the affordable cost of treatment in Asia: these combined with ease of travel and lax visa rules for medical treatment have opened vast avenues for the region.

In 2017, some one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million visited Thailand. India too saw a surge from 4,27,014 medical tourists in 2016 to 4,95,056 in 2017.

Here’s a look at the top Asian countries for various medical treatments:

Thailand is popular for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Since 2003, the Thai Government has taken steps to make Thailand a global centre for medical tourism through its Centre of Excellent Health Care of Asia initiative, and now has 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals.

A 2016 WHO study revealed that medical tourists visiting Thailand were more likely to be residents of the eastern Mediterranean or south-east or south Asia. However, what makes the country a preferred destination is its world-class hospitality, highly specialised care and tailored care packages.

India is a favoured destination due to its its advanced technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments. Patients visit India not just for specialised treatment and surgeries but for routine check-ups as well.

India amended e-visa rules for 150 countries in 2016, making visa procurement easy for foreigners. India’s National Health Policy specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues visas patients’ accompanying spouses.

Singapore is a choice for patients seeking state-of-the-art facilities, well trained doctors and quality care. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the city-state has more than 15 hospitals catering to medical tourists. Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is picking up the pace and is a preferred destination for people from other Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Of one million medical tourists who visited the country in 2017, 600,000 were from Indonesia.

According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia has set a target of at least one million medical tourists from Indonesia by 2020. Since the health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia, quality care at affordable prices lures patients from across Asia and the world.

World-famous for its beauty clinics, South Korea’s ambitions go beyond cosmetic surgery. According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 3,64,000 foreign medical tourists visited the country in 2016, including patients from Canada, the USA, UAE, China and Japan.

South Korea’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Asia and has established a niche in the medical technology industry. To promote medical tourism, the government offers a special visa to medical tourists and insurance that covers both injury and death resulting from medical treatment or procedures.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Bangkok

10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs

Greeley Pulitzer

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10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 billionaire MPs, while the poorest MP has just 5,064 baht in his bank account, according to reports from the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the 10 billionaire MPs, Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, of the Bhumjaithai Party, wife of Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat, is the richest, with declared assets of about 4.675 billion baht.

The other nine billionaire MPs are:

Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai party leader, deputy prime minister and public health minister, with 4.249 billion baht (including two planes, two boats, Buddha images worth 121 million baht and 395 million baht in bank deposits)

Bhumjaithai MP for Satun province, Mr. Piboon Ratchakitprakarn, with 2.342 billion baht

Mr. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, industry minister and Palang Pracharat MP, at 2.198 billion baht

Mr. Apichaiubon, Democrat party-list MP, with assets of 2.048 billion baht

Mr. Nataphol Teepsuwan, Palang Pracharat party-list MP and education minister, with 1.985 billion baht

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, deputy education minister and Democrat party-list MP, with 1.785 billion baht

Ms. Supamat Issarapakdi, Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who has 1.609 billion baht

Mr. Kittisak Khanasawat, Pheu, Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, with 1.529 billion baht

Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich, with 1.097 billion baht

PM’s Office Minister and Chart Pattana party-list MP Tewan Liptapallop, who has 1.03 billion baht

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has assets of about 8 million baht

Of the 500 MPs, it appears that Mr. Phisanu Polatee, Bhumjaithai, MP for Pathum Thani province, has the least assets. There was, at the time reporting, only 5,064 baht in his bank account.

Earlier, he reported that he earned 14,000 baht a month from the Provincial Administration Organization. His earnings as an MP since May totaled 829,700 baht. He said he is living in the house of his mother and the car that he has been driving belongs to a friend.

Several MPs have not yet declared their assets to the NACC’s Office, including Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Future Forward MPs Pannika Wanich and Pitha Limcharonrat.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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