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Phuket convention center one step closer

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Phuket convention center one step closer | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij told a public hearing in Phuket yesterday that he can “guarantee” the project to build a convention and exhibition center will go ahead if his Democrat Party holds on to power in the upcoming elections.

Mr Korn was speaking at a public hearing at The Metropole hotel in Phuket Town to present three architectural plans for the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) from three different firms selected as candidates to design the structure.

“I expect the center to be finished by the start of 2014,” Mr Korn said.

The three designs presented at the hearing shared a common theme: Shelled creatures.

The first presentation was by KAED 103, which put forth a design in the form of a tortoiseshell. The second was by SPAN & FED, whose plans called for a “conch shell” design, while ASD presented a pearl oyster shape for the building.

All three companies detailed their interior design, functional area, security system, hotel, landscaping and other plans.

One man in attendance, Watcharin Dumluck, warned that the design firms need to take more care in planning for security and safety systems for protection against natural disasters. He also said that he preferred more of a Thai or Sino-Portuguese design to what was presented at the meeting.

Phuket Tourism Association President Somboon Jirayut said he would like to see more parking spaces for buses and he didn’t want hotel rooms to be built at the center because there were about 60,000 rooms all across Phuket and about 7,000 rooms in Khao Lak already.

This number is enough to support visitors to the center, he said.

The hearing was called by Treasury Department Director General Winai Wittawatkaravet, who detailed the progress of the project.

The Cabinet approved the plans on October 20, 2009 with a budget of 2.6 billion baht allocated from the Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) economic stimulus fund, Mr Winai said.

On December 24, 2009 the Treasury Department signed a contract with Management Solution International Co Ltd and ATT Co Ltd to create business, marketing and investment plans.

The department then signed a contract in late December 2010 to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with Team Consulting Engineering and Management Co Ltd, SQ Architects and Planners Co Ltd and Team Energy Management Co Ltd.

The three architectural firms that presented their plans yesterday were chosen on February 22 this year, and one design will be selected before the end of this month, Mr Winai said.

After that, a search for a construction company would begin in July in hope of signing a contract for construction in September, he said.

Construction is expected to take about 900 days, he added.

“During this time we also need to figure out what is the best choice for transportation systems connecting the center with the airport and Phuket Town,” Finance Minister Korn added.

“It may be a monorail – whatever it is, if the center is finished and the airport is expanded with improved transportation [in Phuket], the standard of tourism will be raised in the Andaman region, creating long-term benefits for the economy,” he said.

Asked what would happen if the Democrat Party failed to secure a victory in the elections scheduled for June or July, Mr Korn said, “I don’t know the other parties’ policies, but next term if we are still in the Government, I guarantee the project will continue.

“If we’re not [in a leading role], I don’t think it will be canceled because everyone knows that Phuket has an important role as a leading tourism destination in the Andaman region – and the budget has already been approved, so there’s no good reason for a new government to cancel it,” he said.

In addition to about 1,000 local residents attending the hearing were many Phuket VIPs including Secretary-General to the Prime Minister Anchalee Vanich Thepabutr; Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha; Phuket MPs Raewat Areerob, Tossaporn Thepabutr (Mrs Anchalee’s husband) and Chalermlak Kebsup; and Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupapana.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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