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Phuket tourist forced to pay 180,000 baht in jet-ski repairs

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tourist forced to pay 180,000 baht in jet-ski repairs | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A group of foreign tourists enjoying the Songkran festival in Phuket found out the hard way that the much maligned jet-ski insurance scheme doesn’t cover all repair costs if a jet-ski is badly damaged.

After negotiations with police and the jet-ski owner, British national Nicola Ross Morton agreed to pay an astounding 180,000 baht for damages to a jet-ski he rented out from an operator at Loma Park in Patong on April 13.

Mr Morton was among three tourists who rented jet-skis from 54-year-old Sucha Petnuan-ong, Patong Police officer Somsak Nguanson told the Gazette on Monday.

The three paid 1,000 baht each for 30-minute rides, he said.

Mr Morton’s machine first collided with another jet-ski ridden by 31-year-old American Christine Marie Gordon before crashing into a rocky shoreline outcrop off the coast of Kamala, he said.

Ms Gordon’s jet-ski was only slightly damaged, but the entire fiberglass front end of Mr Morton’s craft was torn apart by the impact and its engine was almost completely dislodged.

Mr Morton was injured in the crash, suffering a broken leg according to a British woman who was riding with him at the time.

Patong Police described his injuries as “minor”, however.

Ms Gordon went to Patong Police Station the following day to negotiate a settlement for both parties, who assumed the cost of repairs would be covered by the insurance agreement they signed upon renting out the jet-skis.

Patong Police called in a mechanic who estimated the total cost of repairs for both jet-skis at 320,000 baht – far more than the maximum 50,000 baht in damage coverage specified in the insurance agreement.

“I made a deal for the tourists by negotiating with the jet-ski owner that Mr Morton would pay 180,000 baht to him. They seemed happy with that,” officer Somsak said.

Ms Gordon had to pay an additional 7,000 baht in damages: 3,000 baht for each of the two days the jet-ski would be out of service for repairs, plus a 1,000 baht deductible charge for the damages.

“The lessee must pay 3,000 baht per day for loss of income to the lessor up to a total of 15,000 baht,” he read from the insurance agreement.

Sucha Petnuan-ong, the 54-year-old jet-ski owner, told Gazette last week that the cost of repairing the machine would be almost as much as buying a new one.

The native of Songkhla province said he bought the jet-ski over three years ago for over 300,000 baht.

“I will be at an absolute loss as a new jet-ski chassis alone is about 270,000 baht. I will buy the new chassis and fix the engine, but I don’t know how much that will cost me. It will take over a month,” he said.

Mr Sucha, who has been operating jet-skis for over 30 years, also has two boats.

“I also had to pay other expenses, such as the cost of recovering the damaged jet-ski and towing it back to Patong, which took two hours. I also have my employees’ salaries to pay,” he said.

“I am also losing rental income that I need to feed my family. I think I will have to take out a bank loan to cover all the repair costs,” he said.

The Gazette tried to contact Mr Morton and Ms Gordon, but they had already checked out of their room at the Boat Lagoon Hotel.

A video clip of the British woman who was operating the jet-ski at the time told one local journalist that they simply fell off the jet-ski, which should have stopped automatically.

Rather, the jet-ski continued at full speed until it crashed into the cliff, she said.

“I fell off and the jet-ski kept going. Normally the key comes out and it stops. Now they are trying to tell me that I caused that. I keep telling them that if I had been on [the craft] I would be dead right now – look at the state of it!” she said.

To view the video clip, click here.

For an in-depth story about the uncertain future of the Phuket jet-ski insurance scheme, pick up a copy of the next issue of the Phuket Gazette, on newsstands around the island from Friday afternoon. (Digital subscribers click here to download the full newspaper.)

— 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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