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Phuket resorts may benefit from Malaysian challenge



Phuket resorts may benefit from Malaysian challenge | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: In defiance of the rudiments of free-market economics, Thailand’s neighbor Malaysia is raising – not lowering – room rates at its five-star hotels in order to compete more effectively against Phuket and the rest of Thailand in the scramble for foreign tourists.

According to the country’s New Straits Times, Malaysian Hotels Association President Datuk Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin said yesterday that tourists should not worry because they still have “plenty of options” to suit their budget.

This comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s warning that hotel industry players should not under-value their services, as it would not necessarily bring in more business.

Hotel rates in Malaysia were the lowest in the Asia-Pacific, he said, in a situation where high-end tourists “would not mind spending more”.

Mohd Ilyas said the yield of some of the five-star hotels in Malaysia were also much lower than those in Thailand and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Though at first glance bizarre, Malaysia’s new pricing ploy might be right. Many Phuket hotels have quietly eased up rates despite Thailand’s political turmoil and in the face of the rising baht, yet they continue to report higher occupancies.

Peace talks elude Bangkok
Opposition activists in Thailand rejected a government offer for dialogue yesterday after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ruled out dissolving parliament and assigned a junior minister, Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat, to represent the government in the talks. This irked the opposition, who vowed to protest in Bangkok for at least two more weeks, with reinforcements coming in from the provinces.

“We will talk with the prime minister only,” one of the protest leaders, Jatuporn Prompan, told reporters.

The protest leaders say they will raise the intensity of their rally today and tomorrow. They might seek to make Abhisit’s job impossible by following him and blocking his every move.

More bomb blasts in Bangkok

The Nation
An assailant hurled a grenade at the head office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission in Bangkok on Saturday night. No one was injured. The blast damaged windows and ceilings. The attack has not been directly linked to the ongoing protests.

Meanwhile, the massive 20-kilometer-long red-shirt motorcade around Bangkok Saturday proved beyond doubt that many working-class and lower-middle-class people in the capital support the red shirts, as they came out in force to wildly cheer the caravan as if their liberators had arrived.

Stand-off between Thai government, demonstrators

Earth Times
A cat-and-mouse game is going on between protesters and authorities in Thailand to see who will lose their cool first and resort to force.

Government crackdowns on demonstrations is deemed political suicide in Thailand since May 1992, when newly appointed Prime Minister General Suchinda Krapayoon ordered troops to fire on a mass demonstration calling for his resignation and an end to military intervention in politics.

Jatuporn Prompan, one of the leaders of the the protesters’ United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), learned his tactics as an organizer of the 1992 demonstration. Sources close to the UDD say they are pursuing a similar game plan this month.

Malaysia wishes Thailand well

Asia One
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has expressed hope that political stability will return to Thailand. He said that as Malaysia’s close neighbour, he considered political stability in Thailand important to his country.

“This is an internal matter so I don’t wish to say much. We hope that this will not affect us. So far, it has not,” he told reporters.

Asked whether Malaysia would step up security at the border, Najib said that so far the crisis had not affected the security of the Malaysian people.

“The [current] security measures are sufficient but we will keep track of the situation,” he said.

— Gazette Editors


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