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Phuket tourism operators warned to prepare for AFTA

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tourism operators warned to prepare for AFTA | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Phuket tourism operators were warned very plainly yesterday that they must become game-changers if they want to stay in business after 2015.

The warning was fired at the Phuket Creative Tourism Forum held at Royal Phuket Marina. The forum was organized by the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) in conjunction with Phuket Rajabhat University’s Faculty of Management Science.

Somprasong Khomapat, Inspector-General of the Ministry of Tourism & Sports, opened the event with a no-nonsense description of Phuket’s tourism playing field.

“Phuket is its own brand. People know where Phuket is without saying ‘in Thailand’. The challenge is how to preserve the good things that Phuket has, how to develop human potential to compete with other ASEAN tourist cities, and how to create Phuket tourism as sustainable industry,” Somprasong said.

“Potential staff is the most important part to make the difference and add value to our tourism products and services. Members may learn some answers from this seminar,” Mr Somprasong said.

PTA President Somboon Jirayus highlighted that the clock was ticking, with the ASEAN Free-Trade Agreement (AFTA) due to come into effect in 2015.

“Thailand will join AFTA in next four years, which means stronger competition among ASEAN members. So we cannot keep running our businesses using the same old strategy. We have to create new strategies to keep the old customers and attract new ones,” he said.

Mr Somboon explained that the PTA had set the goal of developing Phuket as “City of Creative Tourism”.

“To support that goal, we are holding this seminar to help our members exchange ideas and to listen to new comments from invited experts on creative issues,” he said.

The first session of the event was a stage discussion entitled “How to develop Phuket’s potential to be ready to join AFTA”.

“Phuket should focus on maintaining brand positioning and we should bring in more creative persons from throughout ASEAN to work with us, because everybody already wants to come here for vacation. We need to offer something different,” said Prof Chira Hongladarom, Secretary-General of the Foundation for International Human Resource Development.

“IT facilities and human capacity should also be a primary focus of development,” he added.

Mr Somprasong of the Ministry of Tourism & Sports suggested Phuket rekindle ties with sister city Nice, in France.

“It would be a good chance to add value to Phuket by bringing back this relationship. When people talk about Nice, people will associate Phuket with it,” he said.

Vichit Na Ranong, one of the pioneers of Phuket tourism and a former president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, expressed concern about preserving Phuket’s natural resources, which he said was still the key factor in attracting tourists.

“We are so proud of the income generated from tourism and the number of visitors we attract, and the worldwide recognition we have gained, but our success is not yet complete.

“Everyone is happy to reap the benefits from Phuket’s land, sea, sand and sun, which are considered our main ‘arteries’, but few people are concerned about preserving them,” he said.

“I worry that if our natural resources are destroyed, then there will be nothing left for us to compete with,” Mr Vichit added.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

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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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