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No fatalities as Phuket tour bus overturns

Legacy Phuket Gazette



No fatalities as Phuket tour bus overturns | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A tour bus carrying 17 Chinese tourists overturned last night after the driver allegedly lost control at the Tesco-Lotus “crossroads”, colliding with two other vehicles, and injuring seven people.

Phuket City Police Duty Officer Teerawat Amnartcharoenying said the accident occurred around 8:30pm.

At the scene, police found the overturned bus. Nearby was a sedan with a smashed front end and a banged-up pickup truck crashed into a concrete power pole.

Lt Teerawat told the Phuket Gazette that the driver of the bus was approaching the crossroads from the north and was unable to stop the vehicle in time to avoid hitting vehicles waiting at the intersection.

To avoid a collision, the driver attempted a split-second left turn onto Yaowarat Road. The bus’ speed, however, was too great as the bus went over the left-turn traffic island, collided with the pickup and sedan in the oncoming lane and overturned, police said.

The driver of the pickup, Wichai Leelaswattanakul, said that he was heading home to Thalang at the time of the accident.

He was on Yaowarat Road waiting to turn right onto the bypass road when the bus came over the traffic island, he said.

“The bus, traveling at such a high speed, couldn’t make the turn,” Mr Wichai said.

“It smashed into the side of my pickup and then head-on into the car behind me.

The force of the impact sent Mr Wichai’s pickup skidding across the road into the power pole, where it came to a rest, he said. He suffered an injury to his head in the collision.

Police were unable to locate the bus driver at the scene of the accident.

However, the guide leading the tour and Pramual Jitjaipakdee, of bus tour company Vista Holiday, today both confirmed that the driver is currently in hospital being treated for injuries sustained in the accident.

They will bring him to the police station after he is released, they said.

Mr Wichai told the police that immediately after the accident, the bus driver was helpful in removing passengers from the wreck.

Five of the Chinese tourists were injured, one with a broken arm and four others with cuts. None of the injuries were reported to be serious, said police.

The driver of the sedan, Bangkok Hospital Phuket Heart Center Assistant Manager Tinnarat Prabpracha sustained eye injuries from shards of glass from her car’s windshield.

Seven of the injured were taken for hospital treatment – some to Bangkok Hospital Phuket and others to Phuket International Hospital.

One bus passenger told the Phuket Gazette that the tour group had just returned to Phuket from Phang Nga province. He said they were on the way to their accommodation in Phuket Town at the time of the accident.

The “crossroads” has seen its fair share of fatal accidents, the most recent of which was in September last year when a 22-wheeled tractor-trailer rig allegedly ran a red light and crashed into two motorbikes, killing a young girl wearing a secondary school uniform.

Many will recall the accident at the crossroads in 2007 when a Kusoldharm Rescue Foundation pickup truck collided with a Toyota sedan while transporting victims from another traffic accident to Vachira Phuket hospital. One Kusoldharm rescue volunteer and a patient were killed in the crash.

— Yodsak Jarana

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


Covid-19 shuts down 70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses

Caitlin Ashworth



Covid-19 shuts down 70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses | The Thaiger

Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. The governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy, fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor



Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities

Caitlin Ashworth



Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities | The Thaiger

3 cities in Thailand recently joined UNESCO’s membership of so called “learning cities” which are said to promote “lifelong learning” and sustainable development. Chachoengsao, Chiang Mai and Phuket joined the UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities. Altogether, 55 cities from 27 countries, adding up to 230 cities in 64 countries around the world, according to UNESCO.

“These cities are outstanding examples of how lifelong learning can become a reality at local level. They have proven that effective lifelong learning policies and practices can support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and contribute to the 2030 Agenda.”

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning David Atchoarena says the recent new members have shown that they can make “lifelong learning a reality,” even after enduring the pandemic.

“With unprecedented urgency, the Covid-19-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity to build more resilient education systems for the future. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities must be at the centre of this undertaking.”

David says he hopes it will inspire other cities in Thailand to follow.

“I very much hope that we will see many other cities from Thailand joining the network and working on providing lifelong learning opportunities for all to ensure a sustainable and peaceful future.”

The mayor of Chachoengsao, Kolayuth Chaisang, says his goal is to provide “effective education, thoroughly and equally to all citizens.” According to the Bangkok Post, the city is a key urban centre both economically and culturally.

The mayor of Chiang Mai, Tussanai Buranupakorn, says he wants to revitalise the city, while also maintaining the cultural significance. The city has a number of educational institutes, which goes along with UNESCO’s learning city principles.

Phuket is a hub of sustainable creativity, according to the Bangkok Post. The mayor of Phuket, Somjai Suwansupana, says he wants to preserve the city’s “identity, local wisdom assets and the charm of our multiculturalism.”


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