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Phuket tourism: tax threat adds to island’s woes



Phuket tourism: tax threat adds to island’s woes | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The tourism industry in Thailand, most notably Phuket, is bracing itself for the negative impact of the UK government’s proposed further increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD), scheduled for November 2010. 

Travel Daily News reports that members of the Pacific Tourism Leaders’ Forum, meeting in Sydney, are calling the tax ‘ill conceived and draconian’.

The planned increase in APD adds significant additional costs to business and leisure travel from the UK to almost anywhere Asia, including Phuket.

A family of four travelling from the UK  to any destination in Band D (distance of 6,000 statute miles or more) faces a travel bill of 340 pounds sterling. In January 2007, that same family paid just 80 pounds.

The impact will be even more severe for Asia if other European nations choose to adopt this type of tax on travel.

Bollywood stars in Phuket

Indian superstar couple Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra have chosen the tropical island paradise of Phuket for a relaxing break.

The couple plan to arrive in Phuket this weekend and will spend five days at the Six Senses Destination Spa on Naka Yai Island, off the east coast of Phuket near Ao Por.

According to, which claims to publish “every star’s personal diary…from Monday to Friday,” the couple have booked a special pool villa suite as they do not wish to be disturbed by anyone.

End to protests in sight
Thailand’s anti-government protesters agreed yesterday to try to settle their differences with the government to prevent more bloodshed, raising hopes of an end to a tense crisis that has claimed 27 lives.

But the “Red Shirts” said they would not end their mass rally in the heart of the capital yet, calling on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to make clear when he will dissolve parliament for elections, and when he will start to withdraw troops.

“Red Shirt leaders unanimously agree to join, and welcome, the reconciliation roadmap proposed by the prime minister to prevent further loss of life,” protest leader

Veera Musikapong announced yesterday from the rally stage.

Reconciliation begins

Thai authorities are ready to discuss an amnesty for anti-government protest leaders as part of a proposed reconciliation roadmap to November elections, a government source said Tuesday.

Arrest warrants have been issued for many top leaders of the “Red Shirt” movement, which has been protesting in Bangkok since mid-March despite a ban on rallies under a state of emergency in the city.

According to the Bangkok Post newspaper, the government is open to talks about an amnesty for people who have violated the ban on gatherings, but not for those who have committed criminal offences.

Protest dispersal tactics

The Nation
After a month of red-shirt protests at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, the government feels compelled to take some serious action following a barrage of public complaints over its indecisiveness and vacillation.

It proposed yesterday to send in some armoured vehicles to support troops and police in clearing out the protesters.

There has also been a suggestion of spraying protest areas with salt water to cause discomfort to the protesters and aid dispersal.

The government is aware that the red shirts and their combatants have stockpiled weapons, ranging from assault rifles, rocket launchers and an assortment of small arms.

Economy enjoys some relief

Thailand’s baht rose and the cost of protecting the nation’s sovereign bonds from default decreased after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva proposed holding a November 14 election, a move that may end eight weeks of deadly protests.

The SET Index of Thai equities may also gain on this.

“This is definitely a positive step for the baht,” said Parson Singha, chief markets strategist in Bangkok at Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. “It’s a relief that the [protest] situation will not become as bad as people expected.”

In April, foreign investors sold $127 million more of Thai shares than they bought, but net foreign purchases of Thai equities for the year to date stand at a bullish $1.18 billion.

— Gazette Editors


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