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A Decade Ago: Airport taxis at it again

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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A Decade Ago: Airport taxis at it again | The Thaiger

PHUKET: As Phuket continues to stumble through the fog of beach rules following the National Council for Peace and Order’s cleanup last year, it is refreshing to look back on simpler times at Patong Beach. Just a decade ago, as the island geared up for its first high season after the tsunami, a total of 1,000 masseuses rolled out beach mats and got to work on 1,000 tourists for what was reportedly the world’s longest massage. There is something striking about the photo; no beach umbrellas, chairs or loungers. And despite the presence of more than 2,000 people on the beach, it looks beautiful.

The lead story, however, has nothing to do with the picture on page one. It is, in fact, that masochistic, perhaps even necrophilic, dead horse that just keeps on keeping on: airport taxis.

Ah… yes, even with the taxi mafia allegedly being swept up in island-wide raids last year, the issues of taxis to and from the airport continues to rage on. Nonetheless, the November 5-11 issue of the Phuket Gazette marked an important step forward: meter taxis were to be granted a desk inside the arrival hall of Phuket International Airport and three cabs at a time were given room to park outside the hall – the sacred territory of the island’s airport limousines. Of course, how many years it took to get the metered taxi drivers to use their meters was a completely different issue.

Then-Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura took a strong stance at the time, saying he wasn’t worried about limousine driver protests – something that nearly every governor since has had to face for one reason or another – as his main concern was that tourists and other airline passengers should have a fair selection of transportation options in Phuket… what were we saying about dead horses again? [See support for GrabTaxi, monorail, yellow-roofed tuk-tuks, roaming metered taxis and the list goes on… yet traffic congestion congeals and personal transport options remain everyone’s primary way of moving throughout the island.]

In a slightly different power struggle on the island, Kamala Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) president pushed to take over the enormous re-development and beautification of the area from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which appeared to be struggling to deliver on the multi-million baht projects in Patong and Kamala. The budgets for the two projects, originally a robust amount of 1.35 billion baht, were slashed back by the Budget Bureau to 291.6 mn baht. To compound the problem, locals in Kamala seemed to be questioning whether or not the TAT was the best agency to carry out the project at all.

“If the TAT can’t do any better than this, we should do the project ourselves. That way the whole job will get done instead of only half of it,” said OrBorTor President Jaran Sanrak. “I want Kamala to recover. If we can’t get it done immediately, then that’s alright, we can get it done more slowly, but the one thing I don’t want to see is the plans and the funds disappearing because we didn’t act fast enough.”

In stark contrast, Patong Mayor Pian Keesin – who died shortly after being removed from office for alleged voter fraud (again) last year – was very happy with the development of Loma Park and the rest of the party town. He did put in a bid for underground power lines, but a quick glance out of any Patong hotel window at the rats’ nests of electrical wires shows where that idea went.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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