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Air Asia aids Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Air Asia aids Phuket | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: AirAsia Group is today kicking off a promotional campaign called “It’s OK, Thailand”. The campaign aggressively markets Bangkok as well as other Thai destinations, most notably Phuket, with low fares to revive Thailand’s travel and tourism industry.

The campaign’s first promotion, tagged ‘To Thailand with Love’, is giving away 10,000 free seats to passengers worldwide.

At the launch of the campaign, the airline invited media from ASEAN countries and India to see for themselves that it is now okay to travel to Thailand.

The booking period for the ‘To Thailand with Love’ promotion is from May 28 to June 1, and customers can visit Thailand almost immediately – from June 7 to August 31. In addition to the 10,000 free seats, there are also significantly discounted fares available during this period.

Jetstar also aids Phuket

TODAY Online
The recently-launched Jetstar Holidays packages for families to Phuket and other regional destinations are available for booking for just two more days, i.e. through May 30.

The packages allow for travel from Sept 21 to Nov 10 this year and are inclusive of hotel accommodation on a triple- or quad-sharing basis (two adults and up to two children). Transfers are not included.

Thai tourism outlook gloomy

AFP
Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said on Monday that the Bangkok violence had turned away millions of potential tourists, cutting revenues by 113 billion baht (3.47 billion dollars).

“There will only be about 13 million tourist arrivals this year, a three million drop from our original target of 16 million,” the think-tank said in a statement, noting tourist arrivals from within Asia had particularly declined.

Bill Heinecke, chief executive of the Minor Group, which, in addition to properties in Phuket, owns a Four Seasons hotel in the protest zone, said: “Directly, we’ve seen room cancellations of 100 million baht (3.07 million dollars).”

Peter Intrayota, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association’s northern branch, said, “Our hotels and streets are empty. Tourists are just cancelling their bookings.”

However, the outlook for Phuket, though not specifically cited by the NESDB, looks considerably better than that for Thailand as a whole, with a 41% increase in arrivals at Phuket International Airport, compared to the same month last year.

Thaksin on the run

The Nation

One day after the Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant over terrorism charges, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra mounted a global PR blitz to claim his innocence and deny that he financed the red shirts’ burning of Bangkok.

Speaking to New York Times, Thaksin said he did not finance or organise the red-shirt movement, which ended on May 19 in one of the fiercest upheavals in modern Thai history.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I was in Paris – they sent my picture – shopping at Louis Vuitton with my daughter.”

He denied helping finance the red-shirt protest, saying the movement sustained itself through donations from both poor and wealthy supporters.

Thaksin also told the newspaper that he was only involved with the protest leaders from afar. “I am in contact with them and they ask for advice sometimes,” he said, adding, in a non sequitur, that the violent incidents had taken place while he was on his way to attend the Cannes Film Festival.

In his interview with the Globe and Mail, Thaksin refused to disclose his whereabouts. He said national reconciliation in Thailand was “still far away” now that the government had used a military crackdown to bring the two-month red-shirt rally to an end.

“The protesters, they were very angry. They were ready to die because they feel the injustice against them. They want to fight,” Thaksin was quoted as saying. “Those who survived are very angry. It’s not a good sign. I am very worried. I worry about the anger and I worry the government has cornered them instead of talking to them.”

Thaksin also accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government, which he described as a “junta”, of hunting down the red shirts. He added that he was ready to compromise.

“Those who survived are being hunted by the government. They are innocent people who are being hunted and detained. I’m more worried about that than myself,” he said. “What I’m concerned about is reconciliation in the country. The government uses the word reconciliation, then creates more conflict.”

Thaksin also gave a video-link interview in English to Australia’s ABC television channel, in which he spoke in broken sentences.

“I can assure this is very, surely politically motivated case, allegation. It is not really a it has no grounds. In my mind I always advocate peaceful protest and I always support my own people that we, Thailand, needs reconciliation. I’m always saying that and I always be.”

— Gazette Editors

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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