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Beware “The Next Phuket”

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: A lead story on major travel site CNN Go this morning says that Phuket is set to receive some stiff competition as a number of other destinations are being touted by developers and local governments as the “next-generation” Asian tourist hotspots.

The rivals include Marinduque, Phu Quoc, Hainan and the Ho Tram Strip.

The tear-shaped island of Phu Quoc in southern Vietnman is said to be a particular threat as it is being fashioned as ‘the next Phuket’. The island has everything, reporter Tiffany Lam says: beaches, diving spots and a distinct regional character.

The government is working furiously to flesh out the island’s tourist potential. In 2008, Kien Giang province licensed out 21 infrastructural projects worth US$1.7 billion for the island, mostly for resorts along the coast, the story says.

The island’s Duong To International Airport, worth around US$910 million and with a capacity of three million passengers a year, is set to be completed in 2012.

Phuket tourism: Higher score for Singapore?

The Economist
The Marina Bay Sands casino opened on April 27th, and symbolizes an interesting, and potentially risky, new phase in Singapore’s industrial policy.

The resort aims to give the many business people who visit a reason to stay for the weekend rather than leaving for – say, Phuket – as soon as their work is done.

Thanks to rising Asian wealth, the region’s tourism industry has excellent growth prospects. And Thailand’s recent political demonstrations have damaged Phuket, highlighting the attractions of stable, safe and clean Singapore.

Las Vegas sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has no doubts that Singapore’s new industrial strategy will succeed. Although Marina Bay Sands opened late, and is the costliest casino resort ever built, at $5.7 billion (more than $2 billion over budget), he expects to make his money back within five years.

“Hot shot” for Andara Phuket

Asia Travel Tips

The Andara Phuket Resort & Villas has appointed Ms Pimpatai Techachukiat as Director of Sales & Marketing for resort and villa rentals.

Ms Pimpatai has represented the resort as the Bangkok-based General Sales Agent for the past 6 months and will now relocate to be based “on-property” in Phuket.

With a distinguished career spanning over 20 years in the hospitality industry, Ms Pimpatai has a strong background in sales, marketing and operations.

Highlights include an assignment as Director of Sales at The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. She also fulfilled that responsibility at The Peninsula, Bangkok.

Myanmar tries to open up

The Star
Myanmar’s military government will offer visas on arrival to boost the country’s nascent tourism sector, in an attempt to draw on some of the wealth of its tourism mecca neighbor, Thailand.

Tourist visas will be now be available at international airports in Mandalay and Yangon.

The cost of the visa will be $30 and it’s to be valid for 28 days, unlike Thailand where it’s free and grants a 30-day stay.

Total tourist arrivals into Myanmar for fiscal year 2009-2010 were 300,000, compared with 255,288 the previous year.

Those figures are dwarfed by Thailand, which drew 14.1 million tourists last year.

Economic outlook inflated?

Seeking Alpha
Market euphoria in Thailand following the prospect of an end to political turmoil may be exaggerated.

The civil disorder has already shaved 0.5% off GDP, according to the finance ministry, and yesterday Thailand reported 3% headline CPI (year-over-year) for March and a core rate of just 0.5% – both lower than expected.

Although the Thai baht has been fairly stable against the US dollar throughout the demonstrations, (net-net, since March 1, the baht has gained 1.7% against the USD), it has lagged behind most of the other regional currencies.

The best performing currency in the region to date this year has been Malaysia’s, where the ringgit is up 5.4%, followed by the South Korean won, up 3.5%.

— Gazette Editors

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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