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China-based social media to unlock door to FIT Chinese

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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China-based social media to unlock door to FIT Chinese | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) and Chinese-based social media applications are the key to unlocking access to the high-end Free Independent Travellers (FIT) for Phuket, experts told a packed room at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Thailand seminar last week.

The in-bound Chinese market for Thailand is booming with more arrivals between January and June this year than all of 2014, putting the country on pace for more than 12 million arrivals.

Though the Chinese market is often painted with a single brush – zero baht package tours – the key speaker at the event, David Johnson of Delivering Asia Communications (DAC), estimates that 7-10 per cent of these arrivals are FIT.

A fresh wave of FIT travellers is splashing across Thailand, explained Vanessa Zhu, DAC’s digital marketing specialist and communications director for China.

“There is an increasing number of FIT travellers from China because Thailand has become famous among these visitors over the past ten years. The first waves of them who came to Thailand already understand and like the country, so they are willing to do a deeper trip,” Ms Zhu told the Phuket Gazette.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Guangzhou Office, Chinese travellers now want golf tours, diving, honeymoons and Muay Thai training camps. Medical tourism is also on the rise, while soft adventure, such as ziplines, rifle shooting, ATVs, snorkelling and trekking, and hitting shopping malls and restaurants, continue to be big.

Higher-end Chinese are, however, starting to aim for beauty, health and wellness.

To market themselves to these clients, Phuket businesses need a completely new set of tools, explained Ms Zhu.

“It is a great opportunity to let Thai people know how the media really works in China. Like the ‘great wall’, the Chinese firewall censors almost everything; people do not know what really works and what doesn’t,” Ms Zhu explained.

“A lot, or probably all, of the social media platforms that we are using here do not work in China. Therefore, they [tourism industries outside of China] have to realize that there is a parallel universe existing in China. They have to share information with different tools.”

There are clear equivalents for mainstream products such as Facebook inside China: Weibo (Twitter), Baidu (Google) and DaoDao (TripAdvisor). However, the big pusher is WeChat, which comprises the functions of Facebook, LINE, Instagram,Twitter, PayPal, Skype, Pinterest and more.

“Outbound Chinese travellers are more likely to consider a product they see referred to in social media. They are in general skeptical of information from news sources and advertising,” according to the Hurun Report.

This makes it essential for companies wanting to access the high-end FIT Chinese market to understand how to use the ‘new’ social media platforms effectively.

“Chinese people right now are really eager to travel abroad. The important thing is to let them know where to go, what to play and how to access knowledge about the destinations,” Ms Zhu added.

One of the many ways suggested during the seminar was to dial in on KOLs, such as famous Chinese bloggers or other Chinese celebrities, encouraging them to visit a destination and push product on their followers.

Also highlighted as essential for those wanting to successfully tap into the market are recruitment of good Chinese speaking staff, menus and itineraries; setting up WeChat accounts to allow more convenient interaction with guests; development of specific itineraries for the market; offerings of press trips to get Chinese social media buzzing with your brand; and encouragement of guests to indulge in posting selfies online.

— Nattha Thepbamrung

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

The Thaiger

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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