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Alcohol advertising ban threatens Johnnie Walker Classic

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Alcohol advertising ban threatens Johnnie Walker Classic | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): Riche Monde, distributor of Johnnie Walker whiskey, has urged the government to decide within two weeks whether it can use the logo and brand to promote the upcoming Johnnie Walker Classic golf event at Blue Canyon Country Club in Thalang.

If the government bans the use of the logo and brand, as well as prohibits the company from using the brand in the name of the tournament, the alcohol company is ready to move the event to either South Korea or South Africa, Riche Monde President Vorathep Rangchaikul said yesterday

The Johnnie Walker Classic has been thrown into jeopardy by government legislation banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The ban is set to take effect December 3.

At least two countries – South Korea and South Africa – have shown an interest in taking the tournament from Thailand, said Vorathep.

The tournament’s organizing committee has given the liquor trader two weeks to decide.

Riche Monde was set to hold the tournament in March, with many of the world’s top 50 players expected to take part. Golf stars including Ernie Els and Adam Scott have already agreed to play in the tournament.

Vorathep estimated that the tournament would generate employment and at least 1 billion baht in profit for Phuket. Johnnie Walker had also committed to promoting Thailand as a golf and spa paradise during the coverage. The event would be televised live to 300 million households in 62 countries.

Riche Monde asked the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for permission to keep the name Johnnie Walker in the tournament title and place billboard advertising around the course. The government is yet to respond.

If the request is not granted, the company might shift the tournament to another country, Vorathep said.

The company has sponsored the Classic for more than 15 years and has already invested more than 100 million baht in next year’s tournament, including the attendance fee for several players. “We have already confirmed the location, the Blue Canyon course in Phuket, so if that changes the golfers could refuse to attend, claiming we had broken the contract,” said Vorathep.

The Blue Canyon course is currently under new management following a ruling by Phuket Provincial Court, but remains open to play.

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Thailand

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21)

Tim Newton

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Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21) | Thaiger

From this Wednesday Phuket joins other provinces after additional entry restrictions were announced today by the Phuket Governor.

If you’re flying into Phuket you’ll need either a certificate of proof that you’ve had both doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine, a Covid-19-free certificate, not older than 72 hours, or you’ll have to do a Rapid Covid Test at a cost of 300 baht at the airport.

This situation will apply until at least the end of April. The downside of coming to Phuket at this time will be risking a positive Rapid Covid Test, if you don’t have the other paperwork, and ending up in a field hospital.

If you’re arriving in Phuket by road, through the Thachatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island, only travellers from the red zone provinces will be affected by the new restrictions. If you’re from an orange zone you’ll be able to enter without the paperwork, for now anyway.

You need to have downloaded and filled out the Mor Chana app and register through the www.gophuget.com (Yes, Phuket with a ‘g’) website. The app will track you during your time on the island should officials need to contact you.

The government is asking people to limit their travel, particularly to red zone provinces. Here’s a list of the red zone provinces.

1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chon Buri
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

You can expect other provinces to introduce similar restrictions over the next few days. We’ll keep you up to date on thethaiger.com

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21) | News by Thaiger

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Tourism

Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now?

Thaiger

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Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now? | Thaiger
PHOTO: Empty beaches of Hua Hin - AJ Wood

OPINION by Andrew J Wood

Thailand Ministers ponder the next steps to re-start it’s massive tourism industry, initially set for July 1, 2021 in Phuket. The plan may need to be overhauled as Phuket struggles to immunise the whole island in the wake of the third wave of hotspots. Phuket, prior to the third wave had already secured more than 100,000 doses and planned to receive an additional 930,000 doses by June.

This would be enough for 70% of the population – the target needed to achieve herd immunity. The spike in Covid-19 cases has interrupted this plan, as vaccines must also be allocated to other provinces urgently to help fight the latest outbreaks.

Not deterred, the Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said he plans to meet next week with all relevant agencies to discuss the reopening plan, previously set for July this year. Eighteen provinces have now been declared red zones, with a partial lockdown and stay at home order. The alert warning was also raised across the rest of the country to orange, in all the remaining 59 provinces many of which had previously been green and considered safe.

Deciding to ignore expert warnings, the government allowed the Songkran holidays to go ahead, even adding an extra day. However no mass gatherings or water splashing were allowed.

(Songkran is the Thai New Year celebration which typically lasts 3-4 days, leading to a mass exodus of cities like Bangkok).

Last year, due to Covid-19, the holiday was cancelled. As a result of the holiday this year, a few outbreaks in Bangkok allowed the virus to spread widely. The Bangkok outbreaks centred on entertainment places; restaurant-pubs and nightclubs around the Thonglor area, plus a high-society wedding at a new riverside hotel, whose guest list included a number of government Ministers and prominent business leaders.

The Covid virus from these few hotspots were quickly spread throughout the whole country, as people returned to their homes for the holidays. Unfortunately this was a perfect storm for spreading the virus. Up until this point, since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand had only recorded 28,889 cases and 94 deaths as at April 1, 2021. Eighteen days later this has risen to 43,742 cases and 104 deaths. An increase in cases of 51%.

During my recent visit to Hua Hin, empty beaches were very much in evidence already with the third wave leading to mass cancellations. Some resorts, previously 70-80% occupied, saw domestic arrivals decimated. Already hurting from a lack of international visitors, this latest outbreak was a most unwelcome guest.

The question of re-opening Thailand to Tourism, starting with Phuket, has obviously taken a knock backwards.

“The key determinant is insufficient vaccines, we are concerned about the re-opening timeline. We still need to discuss the vaccine administration plan. If the herd immunity goal cannot be achieved, we may have to consider opening only certain areas in Phuket”.

However, to continue with the same plan, even with restricted zones, will not be easy as long as the country still has increasing new daily infections, said Minister Pipat.

“Most importantly, we still have to hear from other countries that we already started travel bubble negotiations with about their confidence regarding the same timeline.”

Like Hua Hin, hotels in the North reported cancellations of more than 70% with Chiang Mai a cause for concern and currently experiencing increased coronavirus cases. Prior to the pandemic, the province was a popular destination to celebrate Thai New Year.

Regrettably Minister Pipat is in self-quarantine after being in close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19. The Minster fortunately has already received his first vaccination jab last month (AstraZeneca) and will remain in isolation until next week when all tests are complete (3 swab tests).

ANDREW J WOOD

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skål International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

The content of this article reflects the writer and does not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of The Thaiger.

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Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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