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Phuket entrepreneurs join hands to boost investment

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket entrepreneurs join hands to boost investment | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Two dozen private entrepreneurs have come together to form a new company aimed at boosting investment and promoting seamless business operations in Phuket.

Named Phuket City Development Co Ltd (PKCD), the new conglomerate aims to develop the province into a functional and successful ‘Smart City’ under three ‘core values’: innovation; green infrastructure; and green mobility for sustainable development.

PKCD was registered on October 15 with 25 shareholders and a registered capital of 100 million baht. The focus of its operations lies mainly on infrastructure, smart public transport, smart city initiatives, and security and economy.

The owners are keen to “build relationships and ease connections between private and government sectors” regarding major development projects.

“First of all, we will ease the process of investment for foreigners. Those from outside Phuket or Thailand who want to invest in any project in Phuket – let’s take a bus business, for instance – have ‘no idea’ about how to deal with the government and tackle all the applicable rules and laws. Additionally, the process is very time consuming.

“These types of difficulties make investors lose interest quite quickly, which causes them to withdraw and invest elsewhere,” says shareholder Suradech Taweesaengsakulhai, co-founder of Khon Kaen City Development Co Ltd and one of the shareholders of PKCD.

“PKCD will work as the ‘middleman’ in these cases. We are a local organization and we know how the government sector works. We will help these investors with the laws and requirements. Once permission is obtained, we will open the project for investors. They will no longer have to worry about the law, and we will get more investors this way,” he adds.

The PKCD board expects to register the company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in future if all goes well.

“We do not expect any investors to start handing us money immediately. We want to earn their trust first and to know who we are. After seeing the results, we will attract more investors for sure. If they trust what we are doing, they will automatically come to us,” says Mr Suradech.

He emphasizes that their goal is not only to create projects but to work with the government to help push through projects that are already in motion.

“We can either join the project ourselves or help to ‘expedite it’ by coordinating with the government and the developers,” he says.

At this stage, there are five plans on the agenda. The first is to help Phuket become a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Neighborhood Development” (LEED-ND) city within 20 years.

The second is to cooperate with the OrBorJor in order to improve bus services in Phuket, including smart buses with front and back CCTV cameras, a strict schedule of departures and arrivals, and a system to keep track of the drivers.

Third: to create a mobile app to help tourists. The application will feature tourist attractions, food, accommodation, and land, marine and air maps. This app will be a cross between Grap, Wongnai, Agoda and TripAdvisor.

Fourth: to turn Phuket into a “Smart Innovation Hub” to boost creative thinking, especially among youth, and help them to generate income.

Finally, to promote Phuket as a venue for an Asian Expo that will help the island to become a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) center, and to promote tourism throughout the Andaman provinces.

PKCD is using Khon Kaen City Development Co Ltd, which has been in operation for many years, as a business model to follow, but with a long-term focus. At present, company representatives could not provide details as to when the first project is expected to start.

“In Phuket, the first thing that we want to do is to improve the bus system in cooperation with the OrBorJor. The exact date is not yet decided. We still plan to keep the local buses (Pho Thong) functioning, as they are a unique part of the identity of Phuket. However, we also intend to incorporate a more modernized transport system,” says Montawee Hongyok, one of the shareholders of PKCD.

Additionally, the company intends to work closely with the Software Industry Promotion Agency and other related offices to help promote their agenda.

“We are doing this for the benefit of our future generations. I don’t want to say exactly who will reap the benefits, as no one will trust me on this right now. But please wait to see the results yourselves. All the shareholders of the company are ‘Phuket people’, and we all want to come together and improve Phuket,” Mr Suradech insists.

“From an economic point of view, if the whole of Phuket improves and becomes a developed city, it will certainly help every business in Phuket to get better as well. Not only big businesses, but the whole system, including the locals, will also reap the benefits,” he adds.

Phuket Governor Chokchai Dejamornthan commends the company on its plans and says he hopes to see their vision become a reality before long.

“I am happy to see that business people and rich people in Phuket want to help their hometown. I completely support the idea. If Phuket people themselves will not do anything for Phuket, then who else will,” asks Governor Chokchai.

“However, all I see right now is a plan. I have seen a lot of plans already, but what I really want to see is plans being turned into reality. I am glad to offer help and support on behalf of the government, as long as it’s legal and above board,” he added.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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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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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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