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Doubt lingers over Legionnaire’s “outbreak’ claims

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Doubt lingers over Legionnaire’s “outbreak’ claims | The Thaiger

PATONG: Reports in the Finnish press of Legionnaire’s Disease being contracted by a group of tourists staying at a hotel in Patong have yet to be confirmed, as tests are still being conducted by the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO), Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization.

As of press time, no proof of the bacteria Legionella has been found at the Phuket Grand Tropicana Hotel, where a group of Finnish tourists stayed during a November holiday. In its most common form, the disease presents itself between two and 10 days after exposure.

However, it is still unknown if the tourists were staying at the hotel at the time of their exposure.

The Gazette has also been unable to confirm in how many patients Legionella has been isolated or who did the lab work.

Despite repeated inquiries, the management at the Phuket Grand Tropicana remained unavailable for comment. On condition of anonymity, however, a representative said, “It doesn’t mean that we have the disease here, only that some guests [who contracted it] stayed here.

“It happened in November. Right now we still have guests as normal. An officer from the Health Department in Bangkok has already checked the problem here, so please contact them directly,” the representative said.

Dr Wanchai Sattayawuthipong, Chief of the PPHO, told the Gazette that his agency reported the matter to the National Health Department (NHD), which sent officers to the site on January 12 to take air and water samples. The results have not yet been released, he added.

Pamuke Atchariyachai, Honorary Consul-General for Phuket by the Republic of Finland and Managing Director of the Kata Group of hotels and resorts, told the Gazette that he has not received any other reports of the disease in Phuket.

The Finnish Public Health institute reported January 9 that four tourists – two Swedish, one Finnish and one Norwegian – were hospitalized with pneumonia, a common presentation of the disease.

It also reported that Finnish tour operator Aurinkomatkat has withdrawn all of its guests from the hotel. The Hong Kong government has also issued a travel advisory for Phuket.

K. Pamuke urges tourists and residents to remain calm. “For tourists, please understand that this disease is very rare,” he said, adding that he hopes the Tourism Authority of Thailand moves swiftly in taking steps to set the record straight.

He added that he has heard no reports of tourists canceling vacations because of this scare.

Legionnaire’s Disease is a water-borne bacteria spread primarily through air conditioning units, fountains or humidifiers. Once embedded in the fabric fibers of a building, complete disinfection is required for its eradication. The disease does not, however, spread through human-to-human contact.

An engineering supervisor at the Grand Tropicana, who also spoke on condition that his name not be used because of the hotel’s policy against speaking to the press, said that the air conditioners at the hotel are cleaned every month and have been cleaned as per schedule since the guests checked out.

About half of the rooms in the hotel use central air conditioning through a large unit, while the remainder have individual room units.

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

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

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.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

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.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

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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