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Euro snow will not stall Phuket tourism

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Euro snow will not stall Phuket tourism | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The heavy snowfalls that forced airports across Europe to close this week are only a short-term problem and will not dramatically affect Phuket tourism, say key local industry figures.

Suchart Hirankanokkul, president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter), told the Gazette he didn’t think the airport closures would result in mass booking cancellations.

“The heavy snow in Europe may have a slight effect on hotels in Phuket as tourists may have to delay their arrivals,” he said.

“Most will not cancel their bookings, but just check-in late due to the incident. This is not as serious as the Iceland volcanic ash cloud [in April]. That had much a greater impact; flights stopped for weeks. I think this [the snowbound airports] will last only two or three days,” he added.

Bangornrat Shinaprayoon, director of the TAT South Region 4 Office in Phuket Town, agreed.

“I think this is just temporary. After the snow storms stop, the flights will start again. I do not think there will be a huge effect on tourism here. The flights are just delayed,” she said.

“It is different from the volcanic ash incident, where the airports were closed for a long time. This is just a short-term problem,” the director added.

Dr Sirichai Silapa-archa, chairman of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, had a brighter outlook on the current scenario.

“I think the airport closures in Europe is good news for us. I believe that once the airports reopen, more travelers will want to leave their home countries to escape the cold winter,” he said.

Of greater concern was the fall in bookings due to the stronger baht.

Bookings for December reflect about 70% occupancy, down from the 72% occupancy enjoyed in December last year.

“The number of bookings from Europe [this year] is quite low. European tourists have to pay more [to come to Thailand] because the economic situation in Europe is not good and the Thai baht is strong,” said Mr Suchart.

“Some tourists are booking for one week instead of two weeks, like they used to, causing an overall fall in the bookings [for December],” he explained

Director Bangornrat again agreed. “The strong baht has made their [holiday] expenses higher. They have to pay more to come here. That’s why many may put off their plans to come,” she said.

Bhuritt Maswongsa, vice-president of marketing at the Phuket Tourist Association, said a downturn in arrivals from Europe was largely compensated by increases in arrivals from several emerging source countries.

The industry analyst said China, Korea, Australia, Russia, Malaysia and Singapore were the main sources of inbound tourists.

He also listed Australia, China, Russia, Korea, the Middle East and India as the fastest-growing markets, in that order.

The local government needs to do more to ensure tourists that good evacuation procedures are in place to carry out a tsunami evacuation in the unlikely event one were to become necessary, he added..

This was important because media reports of predictions, attributed to Dr Smith Dhammasaroja and a Bangkok-based astrologer, that a tsunami would strike the island on December 30 had harmed tourist confidence, he said.

“Of course nobody can predict a tsunami, but we have to do better public relations to assure people that we are prepared if one does strike,” he said.

— Janpen Upatising & Stephen Fein

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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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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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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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