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Australians warned off Phuket medical tourism

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Australians warned off Phuket medical tourism | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The Australian Medical Association (AMA) yesterday urged people to be cautious after a Gold Coast business offered plastic surgery and dental holidays in Phuket. For background on the CosMediTour offer, see Tuesday’s Phuket NEWS Hound, here.

Although doctors within most countries would not normally call into question the practices or risk levels of each other’s services, such restraint may not apply internationally.

According to a Xinhua report late yesterday, the AMA says that holidays and surgery should not be mixed, and that the cost savings on surgery in Phuket “should be weighed up against increased risk and a lack of recourse should something go wrong.”

AMA Vice President Steve Hambleton told the Australian Associated Press that, “If you go overseas, you don’t have the sort of [doctor] registration systems that we have in this country, and we know that our training is excellent and our doctors’ standards are excellent.”

But CosMediTour Director Christyna Kruczaj says in defense that, “Thai accreditation is based on the U.S. system of plastic and reconstructive surgery.”

As for costs, she says that prices vary with surgery type and individual patient needs, but that packages would normally cost 20 to 40 percent less than having the equivalent procedure in Australia.

And she notes that patients only pay for an initial consultation, flights and accommodation before leaving Australia, leaving them able to opt out of their surgery in Phuket without financial penalty.

As is the case with Singapore and Malaysia, the provision of medical services for foreigners has become a major and rapidly growing industry in Thailand, with several of the country’s international hospitals reporting 40% or more of their annual patient intake coming from nationalities other than Thai.

Jet Asia to bring Koreans to Phuket

TTRWeekly
A newly registered airline, Jet Asia Airways, is planning a launch in July, inaugurating a service from Phuket to Seoul, and then Bangkok to Seoul two months later. Both routes will be served five times a week.

When asked about timing in the context of the country’s political crisis, the new airline’s management said they were confident they could launch on time and that the market from Korea would be strong enough to sustain services to Phuket.

To be profitable in the long-run, the airline will also have to serve the Thai outbound travel market, which is concentrated mainly in Bangkok. There are fewer opportunities in Phuket to build business on the outbound leg, meaning the sector will serve almost exclusively Korean tourists.

Phuket’s sister isles boast pristine sands

The Guardian
Despite the millions of tourists visiting Thailand each year, there are still islands untouched by mass tourism. The Guardian’s Gemma Bowes finds a perfect example right in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, less than an hour’s boat ride from Phuket.

Many Thai islands have allowed their pristine worlds to be eaten away by flash resorts, watersports and nightlife. Now you have to search a little bit harder to find footprint-free sand.

Phang Nga is home to ritzy Phuket in the west and busy Krabi to the east, but at its watery heart the sister islands of Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai pull in just a trickle of travellers, with a few basic beach-hut complexes, bars and cafes, and the odd barefoot-chic resort.

The primary air gateway to the islands of Phang-nga Bay is Phuket International Airport, and there are a number of scheduled ferry and private hire boat services ready to serve explorers from Phuket’s east coast.

Tourist target blasted

TTR Weekly
The Association of Thai Travel Agents’ honorary advisor, Apichart Sankary, has blasted Thailand’s revised tourist target for 2010. The slightly downgraded figure of 14.1 million was affirmed last week by Tourism and Sports Minister Chumphol Silpa-archa.

“This is only the minister’s dream”, Mr Sankary said. “It is not the reality we all recognise in the business. If we can reach 10 million, we will be lucky.”

Meanwhile, tourism stakeholders agree Thailand must restore confidence in the international arena before kicking off any promotional campaigns.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Suraphon Svetasreni says the priority is to restore confidence in Asian markets before advertising campaigns can be initiated.

“We have to restore confidence in Asian markets such as China, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan because these markets can recover quickly. Then we have to move to medium and long-haul markets to regain the business in time for the high season.”

Under the banner ‘Together We Can’, government officials and private sector businesses have agreed to brainstorm marketing strategies to rebuild confidence, although no specific dates, meetings or action steps have yet been announced.

Car sales booming

Earth Times
Automobile sales in Thailand surged almost 44 per cent last month, despite extreme political unrest in the capital city, industry sources said yesterday.

In April, some 57,128 vehicles were sold on the domestic market, up 43.9 per cent year-on-year, but down 9.42 per cent compared with March, Thai Auto Industry Club spokesman Surapol Paisitpattanapong said.

Thailand’s automobile exports in April hit 57,139 units, up 99.35 per cent year-on-year.

In the first four months of the year, 223,930 vehicles were sold on the domestic market, up 51.8 per cent, while 273,824 units were exported, up 63.5 per cent, Surapol said.

— Gazette Editors

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Environment

Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bang Neow Dam in Thalang, just a few muddy ponds

Well into the second half of the Phuket wet season and the three main dams are well below capacity, Bang Wad Dam just over 13% capacity and the Bang Neow Dam in Thalang district around 5%, mostly unusable muddy ponds. The newer Khlong Katha in Chalong is at a much higher level, about 30% of capacity.

But this time of the year the three dams need to be well on their way to full capacity if the island is to get through the high tourists season and dry season without a repeat of last year’s muddle where provincial obfuscation and confusion put the health of thousands of residents at risk by cutting off their water supply and water trucks became more populous than passenger vans.

The lack of water also co-incides with increased development and more tourists arriving each year.

Now the Director of the Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, Somsawat Chaisinsod, is calling for province administrators and the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority to begin water saving campaigns as the annual heavy rains in October may not arrive or be less frequent. The suggestion of water ‘restrictions’ was not mentioned in the meeting.

At a meeting attended by Phuket’s Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana, Mr. Somsawat claimed that the island’s annual rainfall, for the first seven months of 2019, has only been 10% less than average.

But the dams are a LOT more than 10% lower in capacity. In the case of the Bang Neow Dam in Srisoontorn, it’s virtually empty.

A representative from the PWA said that the Authority is currently buying 45,000 cubic metres of water per day from undisclosed “private sources” to top up the island’s potable water needs.

“The PWA is in the process of securing water supply from a new supplier to improve the water supply and reduce the volume of water drawn from the dams.”

Meanwhile Prapan Kanprasang, chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Phuket, told The Phuket News he “believes Phuket has enough water to the island through the next dry season, after the annual rains cease early November”.

“We have enough water to use.”

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Crime

Norwegian out on bail following death of British man at Centara Grand Resort in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Norwegian out on bail following death of British man at Centara Grand Resort in Phuket | The Thaiger

SCREENSHOT: bbc.com

The bbc.com are reporting that a British man died at the Centara Grand Hotel in Phuket in a fight after telling another guest to “keep the noise down” as his wife and son tried to sleep, according to the man’s family.

The details in the BBC report conflict with earlier local reports out of Phuket.

The BBC report says that 34 year old Amitpal Singh Bajaj from the UK complained about noise from the next room at the five-star Centara Grand Hotel on Karon beachfront in Phuket.

The man’s family claims that another man forced his way into their room via the balcony early on Wednesday, August 21. The family claims that the man strangled Mr Bajaj.

In a statement Amitpal’s 34 year old wife Bandhna Kaur Bajaj described to police how the attacker “barged” into their room naked and attacked her husband.

“My husband sacrificed his life to save my son’s life and mine. He will always be our hero.”

“My husband tried to block the man and move me and my son away. As the man was kicking, punching and just, beating him up, my husband told me to please leave and save our son,” according to the BBC report.

The rendering of the report from the BBC is quite different from Phuket’s local news reports.

In Phuket reports it stated that a fight started at 4am, when the British man Amitpal Singh Bajaj confronted Norwegian Roger Bullman over the amount of noise coming from his room.

“Mr Bullman was drunk, and security had already visited his room twice to ask him to keep the noise down. When Mr Bajaj confronted him, he stabbed Mr Bullman in the shoulder with a steak knife.

Mr Bullman, trained in martial arts, then got the British man in a choke hold and maintained his grip on him. He says he did not mean to kill him, and did not think he had.”

The BBC report says that Mrs Bajaj grabbed the couple’s 2 year old son and fled the hotel room to look for help. She says she ran down a staircase and hid under a tree with her son in her arms while calling the reception from her mobile to tell them what had happened.

“I asked the reception to please make sure someone attends to my husband… “please give him some medical help, I’m very scared, I’ve escaped”, according to the BBC report.

“I could still hear the attacker screaming. I didn’t want to be attacked.”

Mr Amitpal was taken to Patong Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a Norwegian citizen has been arrested in Thailand and is being provided consular assistance.

According to Phuket News, Karon police said that “Mr Bullman had been released on bail posted at the court, but was unable to confirm how much bail was posted at. Reports in the Norwegian media said that bail was posted at about 200,000 baht.”

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Phuket

Huawei technology working with the ‘smart city’ project in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Huawei technology working with the ‘smart city’ project in Phuket | The Thaiger

Huawei Technologies impressed participants at this week’s ASEAN Smart Cities Network Conference & Exhibition in Bangkok with its white paper on smart city development in Phuket.

The paper aims to drive Thailand 4.0 initiatives to pave the way for major digital and infrastructure development in Phuket, one of Thailand’s pilot smart cities, and to provide insights and guidance on an integrated framework needed for a successful and sustainable urban transformation.

Inspired by Thailand 4.0 economic development program launched in 2016, the paper focuses on a practical ideas that helps empower Phuket communities for digital future.

Huawei conducted an assessment and case studies on the services and utilities required for a fully-developed smart city. The resulting white provides comprehensive insights into action plans to transform Phuket into a smart city by 2020.

The services include smart energy and utilities, smart mobility, smart environment, smart living and smart economy while the enablers are smart governance, smart infrastructure and smart people.

In his opening address, Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa)’s president Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanpatcharin noted that thanks to the support from the National Smart City Committee and organizations from both public and private sectors, the smart city developments have already begun in 6 prioritized cities: Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and 3 EEC provinces.

“As one of our pilot cities, Phuket needs a clear development plan and a sustainable management model in order to fully transform into a smart city in 2020, this white paper will surely help facilitate smart city project for Phuket and other smart city candidates as well.”

Chanchai Tanatkatrakul, Principal, Roland Berger Thailand added: “We looked at global best practices and analysed local issues and requirements to develop this Smart City Framework for Phuket. Talking to various stakeholders helped us tailor our recommendations that can address the needs of Phuket and its people very well:”

Deng Feng, Managing Director of Huawei Thailand agreed, saying: “At Huawei, we promote industry development at all levels. As Thailand embarks on the journey to become one of the first countries in the region to develop a smart city scheme, we will provide practical recommendations and solutions to ensure a smooth and complete city development for Phuket and the rest of Thailand.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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