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Phuket must diversify – Governor

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Phuket must diversify – Governor | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi yesterday reiterated his view that Phuket must develop industries apart from tourism. “Tourism is vulnerable. It’s like a crystal. We should create real-sector businesses, or businesses related to the service sector,” he said. Speaking at a meeting of the International Business Association of Phuket (IBAP) on the theme of “Phuket Tomorrow”, he said that such industries might include marinas and accommodation for long-stay residents, which he said might have a brighter future if it was possible to “improve ways to let foreigners stay longer without having to do visa runs”. He also suggested that Phuket should become a center for international education, especially at the university level, and a center for financial activities, medical care and airlines. He also felt that fishery activities, such as shrimp farms, should be encouraged. Also speaking at the meeting was Phuket Town Mayor Phummisak Hongsyok, who gave a presentation on the infrastructure of the town. He also suggested that Phuket should become an “administrative zone” rather than a province. Methee Tanmanatragul, President of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), Southern Chapter, said, “Don’t expect and hope that things will be rosy like this for the next 20 years. We are very vulnerable. There is always something unexpected happening.” K. Methee said that Phuket suffers from a double image, of being too expensive, and yet at the same time of being too cheap. He said he would like to see controls on the number of rooms and the rates charged for them. “We take it for granted that people will pay whatever we ask. That’s not the case anymore. Tourists have more choices and have started to turn away. We have seen a drop in occupancy.” As for the cheap prices during the low season, K. Methee said, “There is a perception in vast areas of the industry that Phuket has many bad things in the low season. Cheap is not good. “If we can be successful in controlling room rates, we will not have to have high rates in the high season or have to give discounts [in the low season].” He added that it is now time for laws to be enforced more strictly in Phuket. K. Methee also briefly addressed the subject of labor unions, noting that 23 hotels in Phuket now have staff unions. He said that he will be organizing a forum before December 20, to acquaint all hotels with the pros and cons of unions and of ways to attain a balanced co-existence between unions and hotel operators. He stressed that the THA will will not be partisan. “We will do nothing for or against the situation,” he said. Bill O’Leary, an expert from the marine recreation industry, suggested that boat import taxes should be reduced to a maximum of 10% instead of the current 47% in order to aid the revival of Phuket’s marine industry. He floated the idea that Phuket should aim to become a “sanctuary” for marine activities by the year 2010. Randall Coleman of Quality Golf International backed the concept of Phuket becoming a “golf paradise”, and suggested that more old tin mines on the island should be turned into golf courses. The demand was there, he said, pointing out that the number of golf courses in Thailand had grown from 110 in 1990 to 200 this year. In the same period, he said, the number of golfers in the country had almost tripled, from 280,000 to 780,000. The next IBAP meeting is scheduled for February 6. Topics will include business updates concerning work permits, taxes and land use.

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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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