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Bt70m expected from room tax in 2009: PPAO

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bt70m expected from room tax in 2009: PPAO | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) expects to collect about 70 million baht from its controversial hotel room tax, put in place in 2000 as a way of raising funds to improve public services and tourism infrastructure.

PPAO President Paiboon Upatising said that 60 million baht was collected in 2008 from 217 hotels that agreed to pay the tax.

In 2008, there were 639 accommodation establishments with 38,528 rooms registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

If all hotels on the island paid the tax it would generate Bt200 million annually, Mr Paiboon told the Gazette earlier.

Hotels in Phuket are required by law to price their accommodations to include a 1% room tax, according to the PPAO.

In the past many hotel operators refused to pay, citing a lack of clear information about what the money would be used for.

As part of his successful campaign to wrest the PPAO Presidency from Anchalee Vanich Tephabutra last year, Mr Paiboon promised greater transparency in how the  hotel tax would be spent.

He has also pledged that all of the collected funds would be invested into tourism industry development, with hotel owners given a say on how that could best be achieved.

As added incentives, the PPAO now presents certificates to hotels upon receipt of payment.

The PPAO is also planning to install a map at Phuket Airport highlighting the hotels that have paid. The map will also encourage tourists to book rooms through an on-line booking system being developed by the PPAO.

Other proceeds will be used to fund tourism “roadshows” to drum up business in promising markets abroad, according to a recent PPAO press release.

Former Phuket Chamber of Commerce president President Eam Thavornwongwongse, also Director of the Kata Group of hotels, continues to maintain that the PPAO has no legal grounds for forcing hotels to pay the tax.

However, he said resorts in the Kata Karon Hotels Association – including Kata Group – have begun paying the tax because they are confident the PPAO under Mr Paiboon would spend the money wisely.



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Phuket

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Department of National Parks

Officers from of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area have helped in the release of a slow loris back into the wild yesterday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reports that the head of Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, Pongchart Chueahom, yesterday released the slow loris to the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Are in Thalang.

The slow loris was found near a furniture factory in Thalang last week. It was being treated at a pet hospital before being handed over to Khun Pongchart when it was ready to be set free.

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy | The Thaiger

A floating seastead has today been towed by a naval vessel back to the Port of Phuket in Cape Panwa. Meanwhile the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam is challenging the owners and builders of the structure to take the Thai Government and Navy to the International Court of Justice.

The Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet ventured out with a group of reporters on Saturday to inspect the floating seastead, the first of about 20 planned Ocean Builders for the open waters about 22km from Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai.

Nothing valuable was found on board the octagon-shaped steel and aluminium structure which was attached to a floating platform.

Two vessels were used in today’s operation. The living quarters were detached and placed on the first vessel and the second towed the floating platform to the shore for safe keeping pending legal action against its owner as well as the builder, Ocean Builders Company.

Dr. Wissanu said yesterday that Thai authorities were authorised to remove or dismantle the floating housing unit with or without the consent of its owner after finding the structure could pose a threat to Thai national security and sovereignty in accordance with Article 119 of the Criminal Code.

He said that the structure also posed an obstacle to vessels and was located not far from an oil rig.

Regarding the threat by Ocean Builders Company to sue the Thai government in the International Court of Justice for the removal, the deputy PM says he welcomes the move, noting that no government anywhere would allow a seastead settlement near their maritime territory.

Seasteader Chad Andrew Edwartowski and his Thai wife, Mrs. Nadia Summergirl, are wanted by the Thai police for questioning after Thai immigration revoked the American’s non-immigrant visa and blacklisted him.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phattalung Rescue

Two people have sustained serious injuries after a Phuket taxi slammed into a tree in Phattalung last night.

Phattalung rescue workers were notified of the accident in Mueang Pattalung District at 7.57pm last night (Sunday).

They arrived at the scene to find the Phuket registered taxi resting in front of the big tree on the side of the road near a temple. The front of the vehicle had extensive damage following the collision.

The two people who sustained serious injuries were 58 year old Wanchai Srithong and 64 year old Jamras Srithong. They were both taken to the Phattalung Hospital.

Pattalung City Police are continuing their investigation. There has been no explanation given at this stage as to why a Phuket taxi was in Phattalung.

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger

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