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Phuket to hold full-scale tsunami drill on Christmas Day

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket to hold full-scale tsunami drill on Christmas Day | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A full-scale tsunami emergency-response drill will be held in Phuket on Christmas Day, ahead of three days of official events to remember those who perished in the disaster 10 years ago.

The decision to stage the drill on December 25 was announced at a Provincial Hall meeting on Wednesday, attended by Russ Jalichandra, deputy director-general of the Department of Information.

“We are fully aware that the drill may affect some people who lost their friends and family 10 years ago,” Trakul Thotham, director of the regional Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) office in Phuket, told the Phuket Gazette.

“Our intention is not to remind people of their great loss. However, we will use this opportunity to remind them about being alert and prepared for natural disasters, so they know what to do when it occurs.”

A public announcement campaign will begin about two weeks before the drill to prevent confusion, Mr Trakul said.

“We will conduct the drill in Patong, Karon and Rawai in the morning. Local government officials will carry out campaigns to let residents and tourists know about the drill and they will ask hotels to inform their guests,” he said.

“This is such a sensitive time. A lot of people come back to Phuket to remember their loved ones. However, nobody knows when such a disaster is going to happen. We hold these drills so people know what to do.”

At the meeting on Wednesday, Mr Russ noted, “The ministry will hold ceremonies in memory of the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, which inflicted great loss on Thailand.”

Although 5,395 confirmed deaths stands as the recognized death toll for Thailand, an estimated 8,212 people along the Andaman coast died in the disaster.

On December 26, 10 years to the day that the devastating waves struck, a ceremony will be held at the Tor 813 Tsunami Memorial Park at Khao Lak, north of Phuket.

The ceremony will be held at the site of patrol boat Tor 813, which remains one kilometer inland, where it was stranded by the tsunami.

A confirmed 3,950 people died in Khao Lak, though estimates including the number of people missing in the area after the waves exceeded 4,500.

Among those in Khao Lak who died was Bhumi Jensen, grandson of HM The King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“The ceremony will be marked in memory of the victims who lost their lives in the waves. The Thai government has invited VIPs from other countries to attend the ceremony,” Mr Russ said.

In Phang Nga, events commemorating the 10th anniversary will be held over two days.

“On December 26, multi-faith ceremonies will be held at the patrol boat memorial site, and there will be a ‘Light Up’ ceremony that night and musical performances on stage,” Mr Russ explained.

“December 27, activities as part of the event include a visit by officials to Baan Nam Khem, which serves as a model village for tsunami preparedness. This will show that Thailand is well-prepared for [another] tsunami.”

More than 2,000 of the 6,000 inhabitants at Baan Nam Khem died in the waves.

In Phuket, there will be the traditional multi-faith services at the Tsunami Memorial Wall at Mai Khao in the morning, as well as the annual Light Up Phuket candlelight vigil on Patong Beach that night, Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong explained.

There will also be three days of events held on Patong Beach to commemorate the occasion, Mr Russ added.

“During the three days, we will have experts on stage [at Patong Beach] explaining how to be prepared for a tsunami and many of the events will be broadcast live on the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand [NBT, Thai TV Channel 11],” he explained.

“This will include a special documentary showing our recovery efforts in affected areas over the past 10 years, which will be screened at Patong while it is broadcast nationwide on NBT.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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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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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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