Boon for Phuket: Lifeguard training

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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