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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

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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Phuket

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | The Thaiger

A Thai man has been shot dead near Saphan Hin in eastern Phuket earlier today. The arrest warrant has already been issued for the suspect.

The Wichit Police were notified of the incident on Rattanakosin 200 pi Road near Saphan Hin at 3.40am this morning.

Police and rescue workers arrived to find the body of 30 year old Teerasak Saeong from Phuket covered with blood and laying on the road. Two bullet wounds were found on his right and left temple.

Seven bullets were also found around Mr Teerasak’s body. Nearby they found a motorbike. His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for full autopsy and identification.

Witnesses told police that Mr Teerasak was stopped on his motorbike and was talking with the suspect who was in a black car. The suspect shot at Mr Teerasak and sped away.

Mr Teerasak was the son of a member of Rassada’s Municipal Council. At this stage police believe that the two had personal conflicts. Police are now searching for the driver of the vehicle who shot Mr Teerasak.

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | The Thaiger

A male Danish tourist, driving a motorbike, has died after colliding with a truck in front of a market in Kathu.

The Kathu Police were notified of the incident on Phra Phuket Keaw Road in front of the new outdoor Vintage Market in Kathu at 3am yesterday morning.

Police and Kusoldharm rescue workers arrived at the U-turn to find the truck and driver waiting. The driver of the truck was 36 year old Sontaya Suchata waiting in the middle of the U-turn area.

Nearby they found a damaged Honda PCX and 51 year old Claus Pathuel Jensen, a Danish national from Glostrup. He was found unconscious under the truck. He was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police report that the truck was going to take a U-turn outside the market area. The truck driver says he was unaware that Mr Jensen was coming from behind in the right lane. The motorbike was unable to avoid the collision with the truck and Mr Jensen PCX ploughed into the rear of the vehicle.

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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