PHUKET: The Bank of Thailand (BoT) – the country’s central bank – decided yeterday to establish a system allowing tsunami-affected businesses to get soft loans at interest rates of no more than 2% a year.
These loans would be channeled through the country’s commercial banks, which would repay the BoT at a rate of just 0.01% a year, Prasuksup Puangsokorn, Division Executive in the BoT’s credit and refinancing division, told the Gazette.
But this loan plan has yet to become reality. Banks are not obliged to join the scheme; those that do so must collate information on borrowers seeking post-tsunami loans and submit this information to the BoT before February 28.
K. Prasuksup said that the BoT would give loan requests from commercial banks top priority, disbursing the funds within a day of receiving a request.
In the meantime, however, most commercial banks continue to offer loans at the same rates as before the tsunami – 5% to 8% a year.
The soft loans scheme has not been greeted with universal enthusiasm. ML Vitaya Chakrabandhu, owner of Le Meridien Khao Lak, which suffered damage from the wave estimated at 500 million baht, criticized the government for not being supportive enough.
“We urgently need a loan to rebuild the hotel. We know that the government is going to offer soft loans, but we’ve found that it is very difficult to get such a loan quickly, and the rate [of 2%] is too high,” he said.
“We asked for a reconstruction loan [from our bank] in the week after the tsunami, but it has still not been approved. What we need is for the government to offer interest-free loans until the tourists return in large numbers. If we can attract guests, then we will be able to pay off loans and interest as we would normally.”
Wisut Kasayapanand, Manager of the Kamala Beach Resort, which sustained about 80 million baht in damage from the tsunami, called for the government to support small traders running businesses aimed at tourists.
He said, “The government should help by lowering taxes and interest rates for shops near hotels. We are trying to reopen as quickly as possible to encourage nearby shop owners to start trading again. If we opened alone and ignored the surrounding area, we would not survive.”
Wolfgang Meusburger, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Resort in Patong, which sustained more than 100 million baht in damage and is now closed for repairs, also called for the government to take a broader view in its support of tsunami-affected people and businesses.
“The government should ensure that the infrastructure in Phuket is [fully] restored as soon as possible, and should focus on reconstruction of Patong as a beach destination.
“They should make sure that the Patong beachfront is built up properly, and learn from the past.”
Mr Meusburger said that financial assistance for people who have lost jobs should also be a priority. “The government should help people who have lost their jobs to ensure that those people can have income,” he stressed.
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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