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Entertainment license fees finally arrive

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Entertainment license fees finally arrive | Thaiger

PHUKET: More than 14 months after all entertainment licenses were declared statutorily void, a list of fees for entertainment licenses has been announced, paving the way for provincial authorities to start processing applications.

Wisut Romin, Deputy Secretary of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Office, told the Gazette that he received the list of fees today, although it was ratified by the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) on March 29.

K. Wisut said that there are “about” 344 entertainment venues in Phuket that must apply for the licenses.

He added that officers from Muang, Thalang and Kathu Districts have been advised of the fees and have posted “informal” announcements to all venue owners within their areas.

K. Wisut added that Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura or one of the province’s vice-governors will issue – again by post – formal announcements to the owners by Sunday.

The venue owners will have 30 days from the date of posting to apply for their license or licenses.

The entertainment venue categories and fees for the first 12-month license – all licenses will expire on December 31 each year – are as follows:

3 (1): “Dancing places”. This covers discotheques and ram wong (traditional Thai dancing) venues.

– Area of not more than 100 square meters: 10,000 baht.

– 101sqm-300sqm but not over 300sqm: 30,000 baht.

– 301sqm and up: 50,000 baht.

3 (2): “Tea shops.” These no longer exist in Phuket.

– Area not more than 100sqm: 30,000 baht.

– 101sqm-300sqm: 40,000 baht.

– 301sqm and up: 50,000 baht.

3 (3): Massage parlors.

– Not more than 30 service rooms: 30,000 baht.

– 31-50 rooms: 40,000 baht.

– 51 rooms and up: 50,000 baht.

3 (4): Entertainment venues. There are four subcategories:

3 (4) a: a place providing a show or other activities for entertaining customers, and allowing staff to socialize with patrons;

3 (4) b: a place that provides equipment for patrons to sing, and allows staff to socialize with the patrons;

3 (4) c: a place that has no dance floor but allows customers to dance on the premises;

3 (4) d: other places that have light or sound facilities, depending on Ministry rulings yet to be made.

– Area of not more than 100 square meters: 10,000 baht.

– 101sqm-300sqm but not over 300sqm: 30,000 baht.

– 301sqm and up: 50,000 baht.

3 (5): Restaurants that provide entertainment and close after midnight (primarily upmarket venues with cultural shows).

– Area not more than 100sqm: 10,000 baht.

– 101sqm-300sqm but not over 300sqm: 30,000 baht.

– 301sqm and up: 50,000 baht.

Upon annual renewal, venue owners will pay 20% of the initial license fee for subsequent licenses.

Also, any venue owner whose license is lost or destroyed will be able to receive a replacement for 1,000 baht – if they can prove that they had been issued a new license.

“A 10,000-baht [initial] license equates to just 833 baht or so per month, and only 166 baht per month to renew,” said K. Wisut. “It is a reasonable amount to pay.”

Asked why it had taken so long for the list of fees to be announced – and whether venue owners would be charged for 2004/2005 licenses, K. Wisut said, “It is very likely, but it is up to the Ministry of Interior.”

Referring to his comments made on February 1 this year, when he suggested that owners of entertainment venues damaged in the December 26 tragedy could see their fees waived, he said that the MoI had again still to make a decision.

The province’s Chief Administrative Officer (Palad), Vichan Busapavanich told the Gazette that the owner of any venue found not to have a valid license would be given a period of grace for officers to investigate whether the infringement was deliberate or accidental.

“If it is an oversight on the part of the owner, then they will be given time – I cannot tell you how long – to rectify the matter. If they are deliberately avoiding paying the license fee, then they will be closed down eventually,” he said.

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Tourism

Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now?

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Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now? | Thaiger
PHOTO: Empty beaches of Hua Hin - AJ Wood

OPINION by Andrew J Wood

Thailand Ministers ponder the next steps to re-start it’s massive tourism industry, initially set for July 1, 2021 in Phuket. The plan may need to be overhauled as Phuket struggles to immunise the whole island in the wake of the third wave of hotspots. Phuket, prior to the third wave had already secured more than 100,000 doses and planned to receive an additional 930,000 doses by June.

This would be enough for 70% of the population – the target needed to achieve herd immunity. The spike in Covid-19 cases has interrupted this plan, as vaccines must also be allocated to other provinces urgently to help fight the latest outbreaks.

Not deterred, the Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said he plans to meet next week with all relevant agencies to discuss the reopening plan, previously set for July this year. Eighteen provinces have now been declared red zones, with a partial lockdown and stay at home order. The alert warning was also raised across the rest of the country to orange, in all the remaining 59 provinces many of which had previously been green and considered safe.

Deciding to ignore expert warnings, the government allowed the Songkran holidays to go ahead, even adding an extra day. However no mass gatherings or water splashing were allowed.

(Songkran is the Thai New Year celebration which typically lasts 3-4 days, leading to a mass exodus of cities like Bangkok).

Last year, due to Covid-19, the holiday was cancelled. As a result of the holiday this year, a few outbreaks in Bangkok allowed the virus to spread widely. The Bangkok outbreaks centred on entertainment places; restaurant-pubs and nightclubs around the Thonglor area, plus a high-society wedding at a new riverside hotel, whose guest list included a number of government Ministers and prominent business leaders.

The Covid virus from these few hotspots were quickly spread throughout the whole country, as people returned to their homes for the holidays. Unfortunately this was a perfect storm for spreading the virus. Up until this point, since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand had only recorded 28,889 cases and 94 deaths as at April 1, 2021. Eighteen days later this has risen to 43,742 cases and 104 deaths. An increase in cases of 51%.

During my recent visit to Hua Hin, empty beaches were very much in evidence already with the third wave leading to mass cancellations. Some resorts, previously 70-80% occupied, saw domestic arrivals decimated. Already hurting from a lack of international visitors, this latest outbreak was a most unwelcome guest.

The question of re-opening Thailand to Tourism, starting with Phuket, has obviously taken a knock backwards.

“The key determinant is insufficient vaccines, we are concerned about the re-opening timeline. We still need to discuss the vaccine administration plan. If the herd immunity goal cannot be achieved, we may have to consider opening only certain areas in Phuket”.

However, to continue with the same plan, even with restricted zones, will not be easy as long as the country still has increasing new daily infections, said Minister Pipat.

“Most importantly, we still have to hear from other countries that we already started travel bubble negotiations with about their confidence regarding the same timeline.”

Like Hua Hin, hotels in the North reported cancellations of more than 70% with Chiang Mai a cause for concern and currently experiencing increased coronavirus cases. Prior to the pandemic, the province was a popular destination to celebrate Thai New Year.

Regrettably Minister Pipat is in self-quarantine after being in close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19. The Minster fortunately has already received his first vaccination jab last month (AstraZeneca) and will remain in isolation until next week when all tests are complete (3 swab tests).

ANDREW J WOOD

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skål International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

The content of this article reflects the writer and does not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of The Thaiger.

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Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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