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Boon for Phuket: Lifeguard training

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: The dangers of Phuket’s beaches have been much in the headlines around the world over the past three years amid a spate of drownings and a protracted period during which there were no lifeguards at all.

Although safety itself may not appear to be a high priority in Thailand, the outlook for better days at Phuket’s beaches may have brightened with the launch last month of a specialised international lifesaving and first aid course, the first of its type in Phuket.

According to sbwire.com, Phuket International Academy (PIA) is setting new standards for high level water safety training for the island’s pool and beach lifeguards. The course, launched just three weeks ago, and has already signed up some of Phuket’s leading hospitality brands.

With water safety a key component of any holiday or residential community in an island environment, PIA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Nick Seaver says, “We are committed to raising the water safety standards on Phuket to an international level and intend to not only hold courses but also to provide ongoing training programs for all lifeguards.”

More latitude for mice in Phuket

Asia Travel Tips
Construction of Laguna Phuket’s ‘Latitude’, the upcoming waterfront venue designed to host a variety of MICE programmes and other events, has commenced.

Latitude is scheduled for completion within the next four months and will occupy a total concrete surface area of 1,500 sqm, with a 1,000 sqm marquee-style all-weather structure capable of accommodating up to 1,000 guests theatre style, 800 for cocktails, and 600 for banquets. It also boasts a 450 sqm pre-function area.

The development is a plus for Phuket as the resort island is notable for a scarcity of venues capable of hosting large-scale events, either indoors or (comfortably) outdoors – and Latitude would appear to offer both.

Follow Phuket: Thai tourism chief

Bangkok Post
The chief marketing representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailandin the UK, Chris Lee, suggested that the project to co-brand Southeast Asia and Asean as part of a campaign in key markets of Europe would prove neither productive nor effective.

Mr Lee said that there is already “a fairly strong Pata (Pacific Asia Travel Association) chapter within the UK” and that the “Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore [tourist boards] are already very strong individually.”

Mr Lee said the bigger future challenge was to focus on dispersal of visitors across the region and within individual Asean countries by building the brand names of smaller destinations, such as those in the North and Northeast of Thailand, which get far fewer visitors than the popular beach destinations such as Samui in the South.

Protests spread through Bangkok

New York Times
Convoys of anti-government protesters coursed through Bangkok yesterday while thousands more demonstrators remained in the commercial heart of the city, continuing to defy government orders to disperse.

Many shopping malls were closed for a third day, and 43 bank branches in the capital were shut as the economic toll of the protests rose.

Protesters also broke into the Election Commission building, demanding the acceleration of an investigation into charges that a large Thai company made a multimillion-dollar payment to the governing Democrat Party.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government could face dissolution if it is found guilty of accepting the illegal donation.

Protesters describe it as a test case for the fairness of the system. So far, the government has not used force against the protesters.

Cambodia courting Thailand?

The Nation
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed not to allow Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to visit Cambodia during the red shirt protest.

Hun Sen, whose country downgraded relations with Thailand following the appointment of Thaksin as his “economic adviser” in October last year, is in Thailand for the Mekong River Commission summit in Hua Hin.

Relations between Hun Sen and Thaksin were personal, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaungsuban stated, and the Cambodian premier would not allow them to jeopardise the mutual interests of the two countries.

— 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.

Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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