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Business owners slam demolition

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PATONG: As Patong Mayor Pian Keesin was sitting down with TAT officials yesterday to discuss remodeling of the town’s tsunami-damaged beach road, a backhoe operator hired by the town was already at work tearing down parts of roadside resorts damaged by the tsunami.

Owners of the properties on a 250-meter stretch at the south end of Thaweewong Rd complained that the town had begun the demolition without presenting them with official papers authorizing the work.

Waraporn Sundqvist, owner of The Beach House for the past seven years, told the Gazette, “They told me that even though I have legal title to the land, they are still going to tear down everything within two meters of the curb.

“I asked if they would wait until the city came out with an official announcement regarding the work, but they told me that Mayor Pian had come to the site with them in the morning and ordered them to begin here,” she said.

“There are many accommodation units along this stretch that have been destroyed. I would understand if they had treated everyone equally, but there other properties along here, such as the Seaview, that haven’t even been touched.

“I want the government to help us to recover after tsunami, not make matters worse. They have destroyed property that was left standing after the tsunami. Who is going to take responsibility for this?” she asked.

Nootsara Yangyuen, owner of the nearby Sea Dream Guest House, said the Mayor had ordered similar work at her property, damaging 10 rooms and destroying newly installed telephone lines and water pipes in the process.

“They just ripped down the roofs without even giving us time to remove our belongings from inside,” she said. 

Patong Municipality Chief Administrative Officer Phunsak Naksena met with both hotel owners and assured them that they weren’t being singled out, and that the demolition work would eventually extend the entire length of Thaweewong Rd.

He said that the Municipality had posted announcements in the area, but that some had been torn down. He added that the property owners could write to the Municipality to complain, and efforts would be made to work out a solution at a later date.

Aaron, a Californian who declined to give his full name, said he had been considering investing 20 million baht in the area, but that the demolition work had caused him to rethink.

“People had just started to rebuild their lives. Now [the local authority] just comes in and destroys all the work they have done. The tsunami didn’t destroy all these walls … they survived until this morning when they were destroyed [by the Municipality],” he said.

Justifying the demolition, Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukbal told the Gazette that the work had been officially announced and was in accordance with the Building Control Act, which forbids construction within 15 meters of the centerline of any public road.

Compliance with the Act, which went largely ignored before the tsunami hit, is now a stated cornerstone of the city’s waterfront redevelopment scheme. Critics, however, wonder whether the Municipality, given its track record, will be able or willing to enforce the regulation comprehensively and fairly.

K. Chairat, who also owns the Safari Club, added that any reconstruction had first to be authorized by the town, which is required by law to inspect structures to ensure they were not weakened by the tsunami.

Most business owners are willing to cooperate fully with the Municipality. There are only a few people who don’t want to comply with the regulations,” he said.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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