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Chinese New Year to usher in billion-baht boost for Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Chinese New Year to usher in billion-baht boost for Phuket | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Phuket is gearing up to welcome the Chinese New Year and up to one billion baht in revenue as tourists flock to the island for the holiday, says the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA).

PTA vice president Bhurit Maswongsa told the Phuket Gazette yesterday that the January booking rate for Phuket hotels is about 90% and may rise to 100% in February as Asian tourists – especially from mainland China – come to Phuket to celebrate Chinese New Year.

However, Mr Bhurit noted that the average daily amount spent by each tourist is expected to be about 3,600 baht, down from about 4,200 baht last year.

“Though rooms in town and near the beach are now almost fully booked during the Chinese New Year, I expect the overall revenue will be about one billion baht – lower than it should be – because we forecast that tourists will spend less than they did last year,” he said.

The focal point for celebrations will be Phuket Old Town, where Phuket City Municipality and the Phuket TAT will host the 12th Phuket Old Town Festival in association with the Phuket Peranakan Association, The Phuket Old Town Community and the Old Phuket Foundation.

The festival will take place on the streets of Old Phuket Town and Queen Sirikit Park from February 8 to 10 and will feature day and night activities.

From 7pm to 10pm daily, performers from Suining City, China, will entertain visitors on the “walking streets” of Thalang and Phang Nga roads along with local food and products, “walking performances”, exhibitions, local games and much more.

An image of the Chinese goddess Guan Yin will be temporarily enshrined in Queen Sirikit Park during the festival. Also enshrined will be items representing the goddess provided by Guangde Temple in Suining City, Sechuan Province – Guan Yin’s hometown.

Local people will be able to pay homage to the image and offer items to welcome good luck for the coming year.

Other activities to pay respect to the Chinese goddess will be in the form of a “pilgrim tour” on a local bus (songtaew). From 9am to 5pm daily during the festival, a 99-baht tour will take pilgrims to nine famous shrines in Phuket Town to pay respect to Guan Yin. Those wishing to take part in the tour can contact the Phuket TAT at 076-212213.

Also taking place is a photograph competition with the theme “Phuket Old Town Life Style”. The contest is open to Thais only with a Royal trophy and 50,000 baht as the grand prize. To submit photos, contact Phuket Alpha Engineering Co Ltd on 076-215796 or visit their website at phuketalpha.com.

Photos are being accepted from now until February 5. Selected photos will be exhibited on Phang Nga Road during the festival.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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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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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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