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Phuket convention center plan gets bi-partisan backing

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Phuket convention center plan gets bi-partisan backing | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Government spokesman Prompong Nopparit was in Phuket over the weekend to assure that the Pheu Thai Party has no plan to cut central government funding for the international convention and exhibition center project planned for Phuket.

Mr Prompong made the announcement in Mai Khao on Saturday after meeting villagers at the project site on the island’s northern tip.

Mr Prompong dismissed as “rumor” media reports that the project’s 2.6 million baht in funding would be withheld.

Appearing with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha after the meeting with local community leaders, Mr Prompong said, “It is not true that the government will cancel the budget”.

He went on to explain that the project’s Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) report was rejected by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) review board for four main reasons:

1. The site is a traditional nesting site for endangered sea turtles;

2. The site is home to natural forest land that should be preserved;

3. Concerns that the project will affect the way of life of local residents;

4. The project’s financial benefits don’t justify the investment costs.

Despite these serious concerns, he said the Pheu Thai Party “would try and push the project forward so that it can bring benefits to the people of the Andaman region”.

“The budget is already approved, the construction design already finished. Though there is no Pheu Thai MP in Phuket, I will help make it a reality because this project would benefit not only the people of the Andaman region, but all of Thailand,” he said.

He suggested both government and private sector representatives meet the members of the IEE review panel and ask for an explanation of their findings.

“After discussions with Gov Tri and community leaders in Mai Khao and Tah Chat Chai this morning, I know that the villagers here agree with the project and have waited about 10 years for it to be built. The government sector, especially the Phuket Treasury Office, should join with private sector leaders and explain this to the panel. If they can get them to agree and subsequently approve both the IEE and Environmental Impact Assessment reports we will start construction soon,” he said.

Mr Prompan’s appearance followed an earlier statement by Phuket MP Anchalee Vanich Thepabutr slamming the IEE produced by the ONEP panel.

Mrs Anchalee, a member or the opposition Democrat Party’s “shadow cabinet”, said the project had been studied for 15 years already and was long overdue.

Phuket needs a world-class convention center urgently as an integral part of the island’s development plan for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism in the run-up to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, which is expected to dramatically increase the number of regional tourists to Phuket, she said.

She rejected outright concerns reportedly stated in the IEE that the project would be in conflict with private-sector investments on the island, saying that no existing facility to accommodate gatherings of 3,000 to 5,000 delegates exist and that no investors were considering investment on such a scale.

“I think the Treasury Department needs to move fast to get them [ONEP] the correct information,” she said.

Noting that the same agency approved construction of a convention center in Chiang Mai, she said that if the IEE rejection is not overturned then a case should be lodged with the Administrative Court charging the agency with injustice to the people of the Andaman region.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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

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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