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Mumbo jumbo in Phuket hotel bookings

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Mumbo jumbo in Phuket hotel bookings | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Phuket readers of stories from a wide array of ‘media outlets’ are by now well accustomed to conflicts, mumbo jumbo and gobbledygook when it comes to hotel occupancy, forward bookings and other tourism statistics.

There are times when the unreconciled (and seemingly irreconcilable) data might easily drive an innocent into believing that there are two or more Phukets, e.g., a Phuket, Thailand; a Phuket, Atlantis; Alice-in-Wonderland Phuket; TAT Phuket; Property Sales Phuket; and, occassionaly, a Reality Phuket (which is indeed an island).

NEWS Hound is faced with such a dilemma again today.

According to Asia Travel Trips, Phuket-based hotel booking company HotelTravel.com (HTN), has reported year-to-date 2010 hotel bookings up more than 23% over the same period in 2009 (1 Jan-19 May).

HTN’s Chief Information Officer, Olivier Dombey, says three important factors have been driving the growth. First, customers with existing reservations have been switching from Bangkok to other destinations rather than cancelling. NEWS Hound can only assume that these switches entail more room nights, more expensive room nights, longer trips or more stopovers. (Otherwise, “growth” would not occur from them.)

Second, according to Mr Dombey, low season rates were allowing bargain hunters to grab “great” hotel deals in Asia. And third, the company’s location in politically calm Phuket had given them a competitive advantage since it had enabled them to stay open while some ot their competitors in Bangkok were forced to close.

HotelTravel’s website reports a 36% increase in bookings to Phuket year-to-date 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, and an astounding increase even as the level of unrest in Bangkok intensified. For the period April 10 to May 19, the company says its bookings rose 10% over the figure for the same period in 2009.

Earth Times, however, paints a somewhat different picture, albeit for a slightly different date frame. They say that the Phuket Tourist Association is reporting forward hotel bookings for June equal to only 15 per cent of capacity, which is an exceptionally low figure for Phuket.

PATA to help Phuket

The Nation
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is to help shape a recovery plan for tourism in Thailand.

PATA’s chairman, Hiran Cooray, said its Thailand chapter would assist the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in the recovery phase.

PATA has emphasised that travel to Thailand is still safe. A major part of Bangkok remains open and accessible to tourists and business travellers, with hotels, shops and tourist sites open for business.

Popular tourist resorts such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Pattaya were, and remain, unaffected by the protests in Bangkok which drew to a close last week, noted PATA’s chief executive officer Greg Duffell.

Visa Overstay penalty exemptions

TTRWeekly
Three offices of the Immigration Bureau’s Division 1 in Bangkok remained closed last week, but visitors who overstayed will not be liable for fines.

The Immigration Bureau informed foreigners holding temporary stay permits that expired after May 17 that they will be exempt from fines when leaving the country, but they must contact an Immigration office on the first day the offices resume services.

For more information, contact 02-141 9889.

Olive branch to red shirts

Today Online
Thailand’s Prime Minister on Friday promised an independent probe into “all events’ surrounding the red shirt protests, and called for reconciliation to heal deep political divisions that led to widespread violence and 83 deaths in two months.

In a nationally-broadcast address on television, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said, “We can certainly repair damaged infrastructure and buildings, but the important thing is to heal the emotional wounds and restore unity among the Thai people.”

Order has been restored in Bangkok, the prime minister noted, following the crackdown on the protesters, who went on a rampage of arson and looting after their leaders surrendered on Wednesday.

Across central Bangkok, a huge clean-up was under way after the scenes of anarchy that saw 36 major buildings go up in flames, including the stock exchange and the nation’s biggest shopping mall, which now lies in ruins.

Reports said the damage bill from the torched buildings alone could reach 40 billion baht.

Determined to get back visitors

TTRWeekly
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) will spend 20 million baht in a new “Thailand Extra Value” program to revive the country’s image in the hope that it can win back MICE visitors over the next six months.

The new extra value benefits are divided into categories: Maximize Value, Maximize Rewards, and Extra Night Extra Smile packages, which all include a variety of freebies and bonuses.

The new program will be introduced during IMEX 2010 (May 25-27 in Frankfurt, Germany) and TCEB road shows in London and Geneva, Switzerland.

The new incentives are expected to draw 517 million baht to the country and will run until the end of December.

— Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Patong

30 year old Thai woman found dead in car in Patong from apparent suicide

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Photo via The Phuket News

The Thaiger acknowledges that the names of the family and the contents of a suicide note were published in error in an earlier version of this story. We have spoken to the writer and can assure readers that this will never happen again. We apologise for the distress caused.

A 30 year old Thai woman has been found dead in her car, in Patong, from an apparent suicide. The woman’s car was parked by the side of the Sirirat Road, which links Patong and Karon. Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the body of ‘Kanokwan’ (surname withheld), slumped in the driver’s seat of a Phuket-registered Honda Jazz.

Police say they found an electric pan with burnt charcoal behind the driver’s seat in the back. They say this was the cause of death as she likely died from asphyxiation. They also say they found a suicide letter.

The woman’s mother ‘Boonlap’ says that she has accepted her daughter’s death was from a probably suicide. Her body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination before being released to her relatives for a funeral.

It is not known whether the Covid pandemic had any effect on Kanokwan but job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand at their 24-hour hotline 02-713-6791 (English), 02713-6793 (Thai) or Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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