PHUKET TOWN: The Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) has finally elected a new president at a meeting held Tuesday evening at the Phuket Merlin Hotel. Sombat Atiset, managing director of Kata Thani Hotel & Beach Resort, was elected by the majority of eligible voters. K. Sombat said that the first issue the PTA will address is the hotel tax, which will soon be imposed by the Phuket Provincial Administration (OrBorJor). The tax on hotel room revenues, at a rate believed to be either 0.5% or 0.8%, will come into force in October this year. Most PTA members view this as the most acute problem facing the tourism industry at the moment. K. Sombat will assume the role of president within 30 days of the election date, and will hold this position for two years. He will take over from the current president, Pamuke Achariyachai, managing director of Kata Group Hotels. In addition to the president, the PTA also elected 10 members to serve on its committee. The new committee members are: Dr Jirachai Amornpyroj, GM of the Royal Paradise Hotel; Kitti Pattanachinda, resident manager of Dusit Laguna Resort Hotel; Sarayuth Malum, GM of Baan Sukhothai Hotel; Mongkol Boonporn, GM of Phuket Island Pavilion; Jirawit Pitikulsatith, owner of Phuket Center Tour; Amornrat A. Vittaya, GM and director of Take-A-Trip; Pakin Ruktae-Ngam, MD of Layan Beach Resort and Spa Village; Surin Bumrungpol, MD of Phuket Experience Tour; Doungravee Sirilak, executive assistant manager of Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket; and Panlop Rittirong, manager of Pacific World. According to the Phuket Tourism Association, there were 128 members attending the meeting, of which only 75 were eligible voters. To be eligible to vote, members must have paid the membership fee by March of this year. Currently, the PTA has 177 members. Its membership consists of hotel operators, tour operators, restaurants, gift shops, bus companies and other tourism-related businesses.
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