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Global scorching; Thai Banks also scorched; Tales of two TATs

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Global scorching; Thai Banks also scorched; Tales of two TATs | The Thaiger
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– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

Scorching forecast for Thailand

PHUKET: In the next 35 years, the temperature in Thailand will rise a whopping 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, which will result in the eastern provinces being inundated in 300 millimetres of rainfall every year, an expert said yesterday.

Arnon Sanidwong na Ayudhaya, director of the Southeast Asia START Regional Research Centre, was speaking at an academic conference held by the Office of the Higher Education Commission.

The Nation reports this morning that his analysis was based on eight climate prediction models over the next 35-55 years.

The models, dividing Thailand into eight geological and geographic zones and looking into factors including temperature, rainfall and sea-level changes, found that in the next 35 years the country’s average daily temperature would rise by 3-4 degrees, particularly in the mountainous areas of the North.

The temperatures would rise in both the rainy season and the winter months, he said.

Climate change also functions as a reinforcing factor for the severe urban heat island phenomenon, in which a metropolitan area is significantly warmer than its surroundings at all times, he said.

Citing satellite photos from 2005 until now that showed more frequent flooding, usually in the same locations, he noted that Thailand’s sea levels rose by 2.8-4.3cm, much higher than the world’s average rate of 1.8cm.

The director’s models showed that sea levels would rise by 14-15 centimetres over the next 35 years, affecting coastal areas, including Phuket, from Bangkok all the way down to the Malaysian border.

The rise in temperature would affect people’s metabolic systems and cause deaths, he said.

Expats, tourists bear brunt of ATM fees

The Nation / Phuket Gazette
Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij’s vow to scrutinise bank fees, mostly those for ATM use, won solid backing on social media yesterday.

But despite getting the banks’ customers on his side, he will have a tough time trying to dissuade bankers to cease the draconian imposts at the nation’s ATM machines.

Before he meets leading bankers today in what promises to be quite a showdown, here are some of the initial reactions gathered from tweets to The Nation as well as messages posted on Mr Korn’s Facebook page.

DD4Wheels: 150 baht for international withdrawals thru an ATM is ridiculously high. Downright robbery.

Sathornstreet: Banks are not charities but they should not be robbers either.

Pakornw: Wholeheartedly agree with Khun Korn; bank fees should not create friction in business.

AmSarosha: The banks pay us petty interest for our savings money. We don’t owe them any more money. Scrap the fees, I say.

JorisGeeven: I hope it includes cancelling of the hefty 150-baht fee for withdrawals using foreign cards, which is scandalous and unfair.

Kanatporn: [I do] not protect bank business, but [the] fees people pay [at the] Thai post office [are] higher than bank fees, poor people use this service.

Rebel_bay: Well, I just don’t feel robbed by bank fees and I use ATMs extensively. Maybe there are more urgent issues to consider?

LisaMajesty: Haven’t seen anyone claim responsibility for the fee. Just institutions pointing at other institutions saying ‘not our fault’.

Chamsai Menasveta: finally… some justice to the poor downtrodden hardworking people who are always getting robbed. Please don’t let them win this one!

Pintira Singhalaka: This will be a glorious victory of David over Goliath! You [Korn] are in our prayers.

Phaisit Phianphithak: Talking from perspective of an ex-banker, fee-based income is what already keeps the interest spread down. One way or another, profit has to come from somewhere. To effectively tackle both u need to simultaneously fix the spread and fee-based without reducing competitiveness of the Thai banking system.

Ke Ket: (translation) Help me please. Bank profits are my blood.

Dee Leesakul: (translation) May God bless you.

Nipoj Jakkrawankul: (translation) Can you really do it?

Mangkorn Sornkam: (translation) [You have] my support. But it’s no piece of cake what you’re dealing with here.

Taweeyos Nakosiri: (translation) When banks suffer losses, [our] tax money is used to shore them up. But they won’t make any change to benefit customers.

Kajonsak Suwattanakorn: (translation) A bit late. But better late than doing nothing.

Pick Pickkie: (translation). Banks are saving their time, space and manpower on services. The transactions cost them very little, so they should cost customers nothing or be very cheap.

The Phuket Gazette has not tweeted on this issue, but would like to suggest that the 150-baht fee imposed on ATM withdrawals from foreign accounts is extracted primarily from expat residents and Thailand’s millions of foreign tourists.

It could be said that the fee is thus somewhat discriminatory, or ‘politically incorrect’, and therefore not an item the TAT would want to feature in its brochures.

But it’s a banker’s delight. Unlike a loan, which requires funding and eats into a bank’s capital adequacy, the fee is revenue for old rope. As a yield, it delivers something close to infinity. And unlike loan interest, which is expressed on a per annum basis, the fee is earned in about a minute.

TAT says Japanese wary of Thailand

TTR Weekly
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT’s) Tokyo office reported on Tuesday that Japanese tourists have shunned Thailand because of domestic political unrest and have shifted their travel bookings to Vietnam, Taiwan and China.

“About 1 million Japanese visit Thailand yearly. However, visits have declined over the past few years, said TAT Tokyo office director Benjawan Sunatevorakul.

“In 2007, Japan supplied 1.3 million tourists to Thailand but this dropped to 1.1 million in 2008 and [went] down again, to 1.05 million, in 2009.”

He was speaking at a seminar on “Chiangmai’s opportunities to tap Japanese long-stay travel”, held at Kantary Hills in Chiangmai.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports data, however, showed the Japanese market had made a 3.60% improvement in January to July 2010 with 546,917 visits, compared to 527,937 in the same period of 2009.

However the TAT director warned that Japanese tourists were booking holidays in Vietnam and Taiwan, or opting to visit the Shanghai World Expo in China, rather than visiting Thailand.

TAT Pattaya sees tourism recovery

TTR Weekly
Pattaya should make a robust recovery in the up-coming high season, predicts Niti Kongkrut, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office.

“Earlier this year, the tourism business looked good and Pattaya hotels were reporting improvements in occupancy,” he said. “But everything changed after May and every single hotel, regardless of their ranking, suffered.

“Pattaya’s tourism business is always linked to

— Gazette Editors

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

Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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