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Legacy Phuket Gazette



Aussies like it overseas | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community. World Cup? Get instantaneous scores and news updates right here on the Gazette Online (fed directly from FIFA).

PHUKET: Australians, a top tourism market for Phuket, are taking one less holiday at home each year, and are being enticed into more overseas trips thanks to cheap flights and the strong Australian dollar.

The Australian reports that new figures released show the number of overnight domestic trips taken by Australians has fallen by 23 per cent on a per capita basis since 1999.

Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Brett Gale said these figures continue a longer term trend. Domestic overnight visitor numbers had fallen by 9.4 per cent from 72.9 million for the year ending March 1999 to 66 million in the year ending March 2010.

Over the same period, the Australian population grew by 3.2 million, or 17 per cent.

Australian arrivals into Phuket continue strong on the back of a relatively robust Australian dollar, despite the recent downtrend in that currency and the ever-rising Thai baht.

And Australians consistently place third in the number of daily visits to the Phuket Gazette Online, accounting yesterday for close to 8 percent of the site’s 51,342 unique readers.

Qatar Airways invests in Phuket
Qatar Airways announced yesterday its plan to launch flights to Phuket.

The new Phuket route, which will be served daily, is part of a package of services to six new destinations for the airline in Europe and Asia. The other cities are Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Nice and Hanoi.

The Doha-based airline will phase in the route expansion over a four-month period starting in October this year.

Phuket is slated to be it’s first addition, with the launch scheduled for October 11. This will be its second destination in Thailand as the airline already has a well established service into Bangkok.

In making the announcement, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Bakar spoke of the carrier’s commitment to develop its route network far and wide from its hub.

“Qatar Airways’ track record to grow remains strong and solid,” he said. “The airline is well positioned globally. The [new destinations] represent markets under-served so these are excellent opportunities for us to tap into.”

Pattaya vs Phuket in bid for World Expo

Pattaya One News
Phuket, take notice: At this month’s meeting of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, held last week at the Green Park Resort in Naklua, the focus was on plans for Pattaya to put in a bid to host the World Expo 2020.

The World Expo is a large-scale, non-commercial Expo. The hosting of the event must be applied for by a country and approved by the international World Expo committee.

Expo aims to promote the exchange of ideas and development of the world economy, culture, science and technology, by allowing exhibitors to publicize and display their achievements.

Pattaya is up against stiff competition, with, in addition to Phuket, a total of 15 cities around the world who are also pitching to host the event.

For background on the Phuket bid, click here.

Phuket property still fragile

Bangkok Post / Property Report
Developers in Phuket should take action to assure buyers of their ability to complete projects, as the trend today has leaned toward completed and well-managed properties to minimise risks in the currently slow market.

Property services and consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle finds that confidence has receded among buyers, causing them to be more cautious about buying resorts, condominiums or villas on the island.

The Phuket market depends mainly on demand from international buyers, and that demand has dropped since the global financial crisis escalated in late 2008.

The company expects the Phuket holiday home market to rebound in the next 12 months provided politics become stable. Until then, completed projects, rather than works in progress, are well-positioned to attract buyers in the next high season, the company says.

Phuket’s Impiana stays strong

Buisiness Times (Malaysia)
The recent volatile political situation in Bangkok caused a price war among hotel operators on Phuket.

However, at least one hotel, Phuket’s Impiana Resort Patong, apparently did not need to join the discounting. Based on Patong Beach the resort says it is actually doing better than it did in the first half of last year during the global economic downturn.

Impiana’s location on the beach in Patong provides it with an advantage over many other hotels in Phuket as it helps to fill up rooms under almost any circumstances, its general manager, Noorazzudin Omar, says.

The hotel, one of probably no more than two with Malaysian investment in Phuket, achieved an average room rate of 4,300 baht and average occupancy of 77 per cent in 2009, Mr Omar adds.

— Gazette Editors


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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket struggles towards herd immunity, vaccine rollout slow in other provinces

Tanutam Thawan



Photo via Facebook/ วัคซีนภูเก็ต (PR Phuket)

So far, 22% of the population in Phuket is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while the majority of provinces in Thailand have not vaccinated any of the residents, according to data compiled by researcher Peter Scully.

Bangkok, the epicentre of recent infections with more than 15,000 confirmed cases since April 1, has only fully vaccinated 1% of the population. Around 10 million people live in Bangkok. Surrounding areas Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi, which have all been hit hard by the recent outbreak, have each only fully vaccinated 1% of their populations.

Despite the recent wave of coronavirus infections, which has made up more than half of Thailand’s cumulative count of confirmed cases and virus-related deaths, the Thai government says they are still moving forward with plans to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists by July 1.

The island province has been rolling out a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to administer the 2-dose vaccine to 70% of the population by the end of June to reach herd immunity and reopen to foreign tourists. Tourism officials also plan to reopen Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

It’s unclear exactly how many vaccines have been administered on the island of Koh Samui where health officials are rolling out a mass vaccination campaign. Some expats who work as English teachers on the island say they have received the vaccine. According to Peter’s data, 2% of the population in Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Province Population fully vaccinated
Bangkok 1%
Nonthaburi 1%
Phang Nga 1%
Phuket 22%
Ranong 1%
Rayong 1%
Samut Prakan 1%
Samut Sakhon 7%
Surat Thani 2%
Tak 3%

*Data compiled by Peter Scully

Phuket struggles towards herd immunity, vaccine rollout slow in other provinces | News by Thaiger


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Rising Phuket Covid-19 infections may cause ICU shortage

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: ICU beds may be in short supply in Phuket soon.

A shortage of ICU beds in Phuket may be coming soon according to an epidemiologist at the main government hospital, Vachira Hospital in Phuket Town. The Phuket governor held a live broadcast press conference where the doctor explained that, with the spread of the B.117 variant, which is more transmissible and often leads to pneumonia, she fears beds might fill quickly as infection numbers increase across the province.

The first and second wave of Covid-19 saw very little pneumonia, but national reports on the third wave show about one-in-four infections have pneumonia symptoms. Only 10% of cases in Phuket have severe symptoms, while 30% have light pneumonia symptoms, and about 50% see no symptoms.

Still, even 10% may require a lot of ventilators and overwhelm the health care system. At the government hospital, there are 200 beds available, but only 19 ICU beds for severe cases. ICU beds are already half full, and the number of pneumonia patients who may soon require those beds is growing quickly. An 80% bed occupancy is considered a critical situation for the ICU.

Infection rates have been high in Phuket, per capita, and experts warn that the island desperately needs to reduce the number of new infections immediately to avoid an ICU bed shortage catastrophe. The vice governor said that proactive screening has been stepped up, especially in Rawai, Cherng Talay, and Mai Khao, and health officials will expand to other at-risk areas. They’re hoping proactive screening will be more effective than asking people for 14 day self quarantines.

Phuket currently has 476 people receiving treatment for Covid-19 with all but 1 originating in the province. 253 of those people have been discharged from the hospital, and the remaining patients are spread between 7 area hospitals while an additional 73 patients are receiving treatment at field hospitals.

Outbreaks have been spreading to different areas recently with Phuket town, Cherng Talay, Wichit, and Rassada currently marked as hotspots. With the frequent movement, the government is asking people to call 191 to report areas that may have many infections. The governor vowed that medical staff would then provide proactive testing and give care to those with Covid-19 already in order to slow spread and prevent an ICU bed shortage in Phuket.

Below are the latest figures for infections around Phuket.

  • Wichit ‒ 48 infections
  • Patong ‒ 45
  • Phuket Town – 44 (Talad Yai 27, Talad Neua 17)
  • Rassada ‒ 44
  • Cherng Talay ‒ 43
  • Kathu ‒ 38
  • Chalong ‒ 34
  • Kamala ‒ 32
  • Srisoonthorn ‒ 29
  • Rawai ‒ 26
  • Thepkrasattri ‒ 19
  • Koh Kaew ‒ 13
  • Pa Khlok ‒ 10
  • Mai Khao ‒ 8
  • Sakhu ‒ 8
  • Karon ‒ 7

SOURCE:The Phuket News


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigation: Was 91 year old woman’s death from Covid-19?

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Medical workers take safety precautions dealing with the 91 year old woman's body. (via NWI Times)

Medical staff are investigating the remains of a 91 year old woman whose body was found last night in order to determine if Covid-19 was a factor in her death. The woman was found in her home in Karon, Phuket, after police, rescue workers, and a medical team from the Phuket Provincial Hospital arrived around 6:30 p.m. She was found on the floor at the foot of her bed and her body was recovered using Covid-19 safety measures. The entire home was sprayed with a disinfectant for sanitation. The woman, Puan Kingkaew, was considered high risk for Covid-19 as she was treated about a week before her death at Chalong Hospital next to a woman that was later determined to have the Coronavirus.

That woman, an unnamed 74 year old, had entered the hospital on April 28 feeling dizzy and was later discharged after receiving treatment and medication. She was readmitted on the 30th with complaints of diarrhoea and dizziness. At some point on April 30, she was in the bed next Puan whose death is being investigated for Covid-19 involvement. The next day her symptoms worsened to include difficulty breathing and a fever and doctors x-rayed her lungs and tested her for Coronavirus before moving her to an isolation room. The following day, test results confirmed that the woman did have Covid-19, prompting Chalong Hospital to close until May 10.

The hospital director said that as many as 45 medical personnel and employees were exposed to the woman, and have been admitted to a local quarantine facility at the Royal Paradise and Spa Hospital in Patong. 14 more employees were considered low risk and told to self-quarantine at home and pay attention to any sign of infection.

In addition to the staff, four patients were considered at risk to exposure from the woman, and they and their families were transferred to Dibuk hospital for further treatment. Chalong Hospital announced they will still reopen on the 10th as planned, but if an outbreak of Covid-19 is identified that plan may change.

Meanwhile, medical personnel at Vachira Phuket Hospital are investigating further if the death of the 91 year old woman found in her home did in fact have Covid-19 and succumbed to her infection or complication. A recent case involving an elderly woman dying at home with Covid-19 while waiting for a hospital bed sparked national interest and mourning.

SOURCE: Phuket News


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