Phuket hotels not happy with THAI Airways

Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Fears of Phuket hotels being forced into a massive price war are already being realised with THAI Airways International “cordially inviting” hotels contracted under its Royal Orchid Holidays (ROH) program to offer 50% discounts.

TTR Weekly reports that as part of its tourism recovery program THAI’s ROH last week sent out a draft contract to selected hotels in Phuket, Bangkok and other tourist destinations, asking them to sign on to a package under which tourists would get one night free for every night booked between July 1 and December 31 this year.

The draft contract also says “ROH reserves the right to select the hotels” and to give preference to those which “extend the offers in accordance with our requirements.”

This is exactly what many Phuket hoteliers had been hoping to avoid on the grounds that it will merely lead other major tour operators and online booking portals to follow suit, TTR says.

PM confident in today’s censure debate

The House this morning convened on time at 8:30am for the second and final day of the censure debate.

Chief opposition whip Witthaya Buranasiri was the first to speak from the floor, highlighting the first day of debate and complaining about the poor technical quality and frequent interruptions of yesterday’s live TV coverage of the debates in parliament.

Opposition Pheu Thai MP Chalerm Yoobamrung is expected to be the highlight of today’s debate. He is scheduled to take the floor in the afternoon and deliver a summation speech before midnight.

Commenting on the yesterday’s proceedings, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he had no concerns about rebutting the charges but was worried about the distorted views of the opposition lawmakers, saying that such views might be a hurdle to bringing about reconciliation.

“There are attempts to pass the blame on violence, and this will make it more difficult for reconciliation to materialise,” he said.

The prime minister said he was not going to intervene if the coalition Puea Pandin Party would allow a free vote on the censure, saying every MP is entitled to form his or her own judgment.

He repeated his pledge to form an independent panel to investigate the mayhem following the censure.

In regard to news reports that ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra had employed a war-crimes lawyer, he said Thaksin might want to induce such international interference to disrupt the internal affairs of Thailand.

UN to investigate Thai government

The UN has demanded an independent inquiry into recent unrest in Thailand, when more than 80 people were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters.

UN rights chief Navi Pillay said the guilty must be held accountable.

Opposition MPs have accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of committing violations by ordering the army to crack down on the protesters.

Ms Pillay said an inquiry was needed “to foster longer-term political reconciliation”.

“I urge the government to ensure that an independent investigation of recent events be conducted, and all those found responsible for human-rights violations are held to account,” she said in a speech in Switzerland.

In response, Thailand’s UN envoy Sihasak Phuangketkeow said an independent commission was “being set up”.

PM defends his actions

Thailand’s premier yesterday defended May’s deadly army crackdown on anti-government protesters as he prepared for a grilling in parliament on his handling of the crisis.

“The government and army had no intention to attack people,” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said ahead of the two-day no confidence debate.

“What had happened was there was a militia group which attacked the military and that led to clashes. We will explain this fact and we show our sincerity by allowing an independent committee to investigate” the events, he added.

The main opposition Puea Thai party is expected to demand answers from Abhisit’s administration on why it sent armed soldiers firing live rounds — instead of riot police — to restore order in the protest-hit capital.

— Gazette Editors

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