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Phuket joins Andaman fight against coastal erosion

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Phuket has joined an Andaman-wide project spearheaded by the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Haad Yai Campus to combat coastal erosion throughout the region.

At the recent sea gypsy Loy Reua ceremony at Laem Tukkae last weekend, newly-elected Rassada Mayor Phudit Raksaraj explained to the Phuket Gazette that Rassada Municipality was working with the PSU Haad Yai Campus and an informal organization dedicated to combating coastal erosion throughout Southern Thailand.

“I have already sent our plan for rebuilding the Laem Tukkae seawall to the PSU for them to study as it needs specialist input. This didn’t happen with the previous seawall and it didn’t last,” he said.

Large waves brought on by the wet-season monsoon last year damaged homes at the small sea gypsy community, forcing villagers to seek refuge with family members or even sleep outdoors.

At least eight houses suffered damage, altogether home to 53 people.

This year, Mayor Phudit expects that employing outside assistance will push the project cost to about 30 million baht, as opposed to 17mn baht for the old seawall, which fell apart within months.

“We need to study factors such as wave action and the specific environment as it needs a unique design. It’s not only about building the wall, after deciding on a plan we need to hold a public hearing to ensure villagers agree with it,” Mayor Phudit said.

Sawad Samukpong, one of the members of the informal group formed to combat coastal erosion, explained to the Gazette that a previous plan to stave off coastal erosion throughout the South was drawn up, but never implemented.

Now his team intends to put a pilot plan into practice in a few locations to see how it works to prevent further coastal erosion.

“Phuket suffers serious coastal erosion at Bang Tao Beach in Kamala, at Rawai, at Nai Yang Beach and at the Laem Tukkae sea gypsy village on Koh Sireh,” he said.

To facilitate input into the new plan, a large seminar was held at the Katina Hotel in Phuket Town on Thursday to discuss and decide on a general practical plan to combat coastal erosion along the Andaman coast, he added.

The seminar, organized by Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and PSU Phuket Campus, is the direct result of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra raising coastal erosion as a topic of concern at the mobile Cabinet meeting in Phuket in March.

At that Cabinet meeting, the Engineering Faculty at the PSU Haad Yai Campus was assigned to co-ordinate the drawing up of the six-province plan.

Attending the seminar were provincial and local government representatives from the Andaman provinces and the relevant NGOs [non-governmental organizations], Mr Sawad said.

“After the seminar in Phuket, we will hold smaller, area-specific meetings in the Andaman provinces of Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, Satun and Phuket,” said Mr Sawad.

“We will also study all the damage points because those places have different sets of problems. Once that is done we can then put the pilot plan into action in specific locations, and after that request the budget to carry out the full plan,” he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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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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