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OrBorJor targets bus service, hotel tax issue

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OrBorJor targets bus service, hotel tax issue | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: New projects launched by the new Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) include persuading more hotel owners to pay the controversial 1% hotel room tax and improving the OrBorJor bus service in and around Phuket City.

OrBorJor President Paiboon Upatising told the Gazette the initiatives fall under the OrBorJor policy to improve public services and promote tourism in the province.

More than half of some 200 hotels listed in the province have already paid up, including many members of the Kata-Karon Hotel Association that had long held out against it, he said.

Under the previous OrBorJor administration, fewer than 50% of the hotels paid the tax. Some argued that they had no way of knowing what it would be used for.

From October 1, 2007, to July 31, 2008, the OrBorJor collected 68.9 million baht in hotel tax and it now looks on track to meet its target of 80 million baht for fiscal 2008, Khun Paiboon said.

The OrBorJor will first make it clear how the tax will be used to improve the island’s tourism infrastructure. After the public relations campaign is complete, hotels that refuse to pay up will face prosecution according to the law, he said.

The administration could take legal action first, but prefers a softer approach that includes discussion and negotiation. Hotels that do pay up are invited to take part in OrBorJor-organized activities like the human resources seminar at The Metropole Hotel on July 31, he said.

The OrBorJor has also earmarked about 9 million baht to run eight songthaews along the same routes currently used by the OrBorJor‘s 16 green minibuses. This will reduce the time passengers must wait for a vehicle to arrive, he added.

A new management company will be contracted to run the service and Global Positioning Satellite technology will be installed in the vehicles to track their location for planning purposes.

The OrBorJor hopes this will allow the vehicles to depart from bus stops according to a strict timetable, thus doing away with the long waits that have been the most common complaint about the service since its introduction in 2002.

Service is now free for students in uniform carrying special passes issued by their schools. Thus far about 1,200 students have registered, he said.

The OrBorJor is also working together with Phuket City Municipality to develop recreational activities and equipment at Saphan Hin. The two bodies will organize a New Year’s Eve Countdown event at Surin Circle to ring in the year 2009, he added.

In other OrBorJor news, the administration has been granted permission by the Interior Ministry to extend its spending period for fiscal 2008 by one month, until the end of September.

 

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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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