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10 million baht to develop Phuket OTOP villages

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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10 million baht to develop Phuket OTOP villages | The Thaiger

Phuket is developing its OTOP Villages with a 10 million baht budget to support local tourism.

OTOP stands for ‘One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product’. It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon all over Thailand.

OTOP drew its inspiration from Japan’s successful One Village One Product (OVOP) program, and encourages village communities to improve local product quality and marketing. It selects one superior product from each tambon to receive formal branding as a “starred OTOP product”, and provides a local and international stage for the promotion of these products.

The tourism activities design development training project is being officially opened by the Phuket Governor Norrapahat Plodthong at the Bhukitta Hotel from July 4-6. More than 200 locals and government officers are joining in the training.

Governor Norraphat says, “We have received a budget to support the local economy for an OTOP Village of nearly 11 million baht. This budget is to be used in developing three OTOP villages in Phuket which are Borae Village in Wichit, Baan Mai Khao in Thalang and Baan Hua Kwuan in Kamala.”

“The target is developing the local economies in order to generate more income for Phuket communities. The development will better connect with local tourism and promote our unique style of Phuket life and community to attract more tourists.”

10 million baht to develop Phuket OTOP villages | News by The Thaiger

10 million baht to develop Phuket OTOP villages | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December | The Thaiger

The point deduction system, for traffic and road infringements, is tentatively scheduled for activation for motorists and motorcyclists in mid-December. It is hoped that the system will help reduce road fatalities and injuries on Thai roads.

The deputy commander of Highways Police Command says that every licensed driver will be given an allocation of 12 points. Each time the driver commits a traffic law violation, points will be deducted. When there are no points left, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, after which the driver or motorcyclist will have to undergo training administered by the Land Transport Department to get their licence back, and another 12 points.

Those who don’t attend the training, however, will have their licence returned after 90 days, but with only 8 points.

Points to be deducted differ, depending on the offence. Offences are divided into four categories:

• One point deduction

Using a cell-phone while driving; exceeding the speed limit; not wearing crash helmets for motorcyclists; not wearing seat belts; not giving way to emergency vehicles, riding on the sidewalk and not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

• Two points deduction

Running a red light; driving on the wrong side of the road; reckless driving; driving while his/her license is suspended and drunk driving.

• Three points deduction

Organising or promoting street racing without permission; hit-and run; driving while under the influence of narcotics; driving while under the influence of alcohol exceeding 150mg per ml.

• Four points deduction

Driving under the influence of alcohol exceeding 200mg per ml, drunk driving in a way which may cause serious injuries or death to the other people; driving in a manner disregarding the safety of the other people or causing trouble to other people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Singapore

Gardens by the bay – Singapore’s horticultural showcase

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Gardens by the bay – Singapore’s horticultural showcase | The Thaiger

You don’t have to be a green-thumb to be amazed by this architectural and horticultural wonder.

Gardens by the Bay is an independent organisation responsible for developing and managing one of Asia’s most stunning garden destinations. The destination is a must-see visit on a quick stop over or as part of your extended time in the Lion City. Make sure you allow a full morning or afternoon, even an entire day, to walk around the many exhibits and secret garden worlds.

Gardens by the Bay, opposite the Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore, is led by a multidisciplinary team of professionals who have been involved in the greening of Singapore, working alongside international and local experts to develop the astonishing architectural, arboreal and floral attraction. It’s an ever-evolving, living and breathing display set under two glass domes (an architectural wonder in their own right).

Gardens by the Bay has earned numerous awards and accolades including the World Building of the Year in 2012, the President’s Design Award (Singapore) in 2013, the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Themed Entertainment Association in 2014, the Largest Glass Greenhouse (Flower Dome) in the Guinness World Records for 2015, and even a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016.

It has an in-house team of skilled landscape designers, horticulturists, arborists, engineers, plant health, garden and turf management experts, as well as plant research and orchid breeding professionals, who leverage on the extensive global network of plant sources cultivated during the development days.

Gardens by the bay - Singapore's horticultural showcase | News by The Thaiger

The two main domes are the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest.

The Flower Dome is a celebration of flowers from around the world with various special displays throughout the year, depending on the seasons. You can meander your way though the extensive paths and walkways, read about the displays or just sit and soak in the wonder of colour.

The Cloud Forest takes you into the world of rainforests where you gaze up in wonder at soaring waterfalls and man-made mountains of lush tropical and cool-climate rainforest species. Or take an elevator up to the top and wander through the tree tops and enjoy the view. This display hits a high note early when you first walk though the doors and are confronted by a 30 metre cascade of water from 10 different man-made waterfalls, the tallest of its type in the world.

Originally constructed as a nature reserve park, a government strategy to convert the city from a “Garden City” to a “City In A Garden”, it is much more than just a botanical garden.

The area encompasses the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome Conservatory, Heritage Gardens, various art installations and locations to just wander and relax. There are also audio tours available which will take you on a guided tour.

So, so much more than just a garden, it’s an education about bio-diversity, a hugely enjoyable afternoon or evening stroll around the world of plants and flowers. Warmly recommended for the entire family.

The Gardens are located at 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore, opposite the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and adjacent to the Singapore Eye ferris wheel.

Gardens by the bay - Singapore's horticultural showcase | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up – The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which operates luxury brand The Peninsula Hotels, says it will “vigorously defend its rights” to manage The Peninsula Bangkok, following a legal win by the hotel’s Thai shareholder that paves the way for the management agreement to be terminated.

And so the open wounds of a business saga are now on full display between a international hotel management company and the local Thai owners. This time it’s involving one of Bangkok’s best known luxury hotels.

Thai business law prevents many of the international hotel brands actually owning the properties so wealthy Thai families acquire the properties and then contract international hotel expertise to manage the assets where two entities are trying to get a larger slice of the pie. And, for now, the pie is getting smaller with the contraction in the traditional hotel business and the challenges Thai tourism is currently facing.

Peninsula Hotel, the iconic 370 room Chao Phraya riverside hotel, is 50% owned by the Phataraprasit family and the other half by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ subsidiary in Bangkok.

The Peninsula Bangkok is a 5-star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel opened in 1998, counting 37 floors and 367 rooms.

Skift.com reports that the Thai shareholder went to court after it failed to end the agreement in the boardroom on January 26, as it was blocked by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels subsidiary, which has a voting majority in the board. But on September 10, the local Thonburi Civil Court ruled that the subsidiary should not have been allowed to vote on a resolution regarding the termination of the agreement.

The legal case between a Thai owner and hotel chain managers over non-performance, isn’t the first. Minor International is suing Marriott International is sueing the Marriott Group for a “highly disappointing” performance of the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khoa. Minor fully owns the luxury beachside hotel and and Marriott manages. The lawsuit was filed on July 12. The case is ongoing.

The statement says…

“Any termination of Peninsula’s management would be tantamount to a breach of the shareholders agreement between Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Phataraprasit shareholders, as well as the Peninsula’s management agreement. Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels will vigorously defend its rights. Pending the outcome of the appeal and other legal processes which are ongoing, The Peninsula Bangkok continues to be operated by The Peninsula under the hotel management agreement which continues to be legally binding.”

Some background, the Thai Phataraprasit family, who also have interests in The Mall Group (that manages the Siam Paragon and Emporium shopping centres in Bangkok), alleges that The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels had not run the hotel profitably in the last 20 years.

In an article in the Bangkok-based Travel Impact Newswire, Pradit Phataraprasit, head of the Thai family’s investments, had strong words.

“In the last 20 years, there has not been a single year in which the Peninsula hotel group’s management company has run the hotel profitably for its shareholders.”

“The Peninsula sits on one of the most expensive riverside land plots in this city but, very curiously, it cannot yield a dividend for its shareholders. We have been very patient with the management company belonging to our partners from Hong Kong. However, the time has come for another management company to run this hotel.”

For their part the COO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Peter Borer, says the group had always operated “with integrity” regarding the operation of the hotel.

“Over the past decade, the hotel’s financial performance has been affected by political uncertainties and a challenging luxury hotel market in Bangkok, but as a group with a long-term investment philosophy, we have always remained committed to Thailand.

Commenting on the ongoing legal fracas….

“The daily operations of the hotel are not currently affected pending the final outcome of the legal actions.”

The company’s Q1&2 results shows the hotel had a drop of 5% in revenue compared with January to June last year. The average room rate rose 8%, but the occupancy rate dipped 6%.”

Reporting on the results so dar this year….

“The Peninsula Bangkok reported a relatively soft start to the year, impacted by a slower economy and uncertainty over the country’s first elections since 2014. Our hotel was also negatively affected by extensive roadworks adjacent to our property which impacted our food and beverage and catering business.”

Again, the Phuket boat tragedy, killing 47 Chinese tourists in July 2018, was presented as a key reason for current woes.

“Chinese mainland tourist arrivals declined year-on-year following a tragic boating accident in Phuket in 2018 which led to reduced group tourism to the country overall.”

Two years ago Pradit Phataraprasit was named as being involved in the Dhammakaya Temple scandal.

“Prominent Businessman Pradit Phataraprasit has denied any involvement in alleged embezzlement or the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple after records show he bought a land plot from a suspected money launderer.”

SOURCE: skift.com

Another Thai hotel management dispute flares up - The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel | News by The Thaiger

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