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Multilingual beach-safety cards redistributed by Phuket expat

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Multilingual beach-safety cards redistributed by Phuket expat | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The news that lifeguards have returned to Phuket’s beaches (story here) prompted Tourist Police volunteer Simon Luttrell to return to printing multilingual beach-safety advice cards and distributing them to lifeguards.

“Now that all beaches have lifeguards again, I wanted to check that they all had my cards to help warn foreign tourists about the unseen dangers of rip currents, and to heed the advice of the lifeguards at all times,” Mr Luttrell explained.

The cards were designed to assist the lifeguards in communicating with foreign tourists about the meaning of the red flags – ‘no swimming – dangerous’ – and the importance of heeding lifeguards’ warnings. The laminated A4-sized cards, printed in English, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, allow lifeguards to clearly communicate surf dangers to tourists who are unable to understand English, or who believe they are stronger than the rip currents (story here).

Mr Luttrell pointed out that he paid mother-tongue translators to write the warnings in each language, to ensure that the advice would be fully understood.

“It was very encouraging to make an unannounced visit to the beaches and see lifeguards patrolling with my cards in hand,” Mr Luttrell told the Phuket Gazette last week. “I visited Ya Nui Beach, Nai Harn Beach, Kata Noi Beach, Kata Beach and Karon Beach, and was able to replenish the lifeguard stations with advice cards. In some cases, the cards had been damaged by constant use, while some smaller lifeguards stations did not receive cards last time.”

The cards were designed, printed, laminated and distributed by Mr Luttrell – all of which was paid for out of his own pocket. Each A4 card costs Simon about 80 baht to print and laminate.

“I handed out 14 cards this morning and will soon hand out about another 20 cards for Patong Beach, Kamala Beach and the northern beaches,” he said last week.

Mr Luttrell is a volunteer police officer at Phuket International Airport and also owns several small hotels in the area. He has taken on the role of assisting the lifeguards with tourist advice cards because, in his own words:

“If I don’t do this, I don’t really know who else will. It is very important that all Phuketians – Thai and non-Thai, locals and expats – help to assist and inform our foreign tourists, so that they can have a pleasant and trouble-free holiday, and thus recommend Phuket to their friends and colleagues.”

The lifeguard-warning cards follow suit in Mr Luttrell’s “Have a Happy Holiday” cards, which highlight six dangers for tourists to be aware of during their stay in Phuket.

“These cards are featured in the lobbies of most of the hotels in my region: the airport, Mai Khao and Nai Yang,” he said.

The cards, in English, Chinese and Russian warn of: 1) Rip tides and beach flag colors; 2) Pickpockets; 3) Jet-skis; 4) Riding motorbikes; 5) Respect for the environment and cultural sensitivities; and 6) Attire when away from the beach.

“Several hotels have asked for the jpeg file for this card so that they can print them and place this advice card in all of their guest rooms,” Mr Luttrell noted.

Mr Luttrell invited all people who work with or regularly encounter tourists about to enter Phuket’s surf to contact him for free cards at 096-356 6040.

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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