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Phuket tourists divert to Bali



Phuket tourists divert to Bali | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The long-running political crisis in Thailand appears to have had a positive spin-off for Bali’s tourism industry, with more foreign tourists than usual visiting the Indonesian island instead of Thai destinations such as Phuket.

The Jakarta Globe reports that Ida Bagus Subhiksu, head of the Bali Tourism Office, has announced that the number of foreign tourists visiting the island in the first quarter of the year had reached 551,186, up 18.49 percent compared to the same period last year.

Subhiksu said Australians were making up the bulk of tourists opting for the Indonesian island instead of Phuket or other Thai resorts, followed by tourists from several European countries, particularly France and the Netherlands.

Muhammad Dimyati, a spokesman for PT Angkasa Pura, the operator of Ngurah Rai Airport, said that with Bali’s popularity on the rebound, a number of foreign airlines were planning to start flying to the island in the near future.

“In June, Strategic Airlines will be ready to open a route to Bali, followed by Vietnam Airlines next year,” he said.

Thailand normalizing slowly

Bangkok Post
The Center for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) declared that it has no immediate plan to repeal the emergency decree in Thailand, and that the decision on whether to extend the curfew would be made on a day-to-day basis, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday.

Yesterday, the curfew was lifted in Pattaya.

The CRES believed that a large amount of heavy weapons were still in the possession of radical red shirt groups and vowed to find them to prevent further violence, he said.

During the CRES briefing, officials displayed weapons and ammunition seized from the red shirt rally site, including M79 grenade launchers,  AK47s, handguns, several types of grenades, Molotov cocktails, and bullets for automatic weapons. Firecrackers were also seized.

All government agencies, offices and schools in the city will be open today.

Elections possible, but no date yet

The Japan Times
Thailand’s finance minister said on Friday that early elections were a possibility, but that the government isn’t bound by its offer to hold them by November because anti-government protesters never accepted the deal.

Korn Chatikavanij said several conditions needed to be met before elections could be held, including ensuring that they would be “free and fair.”

“If we can do that in November, we will do it in November,” he said.

Korn also acknowledged that Thailand, like many developing Asian nations, must find ways to reduce poverty and address the yawning gap between the rich and the poor.

Pattaya infested with rats

Pattaya Mail
Locals are urging Pattaya City Hall to cure the tourist destination’s rat problem before it gets further out of hand.

Residents and tourists alike are complaining that after dark large rats are crawling out of trees and taking over the beach, dining on food thrown into tree planters and tubs of unwashed plates left behind by vendors.

They’re gnawing on beach chair mattresses and defecating everywhere, prompting fears that disease may affect daytime beach visitors.

It’s not a new problem. The rats seen after dark are large, old and have been around for awhile.

Thai film wins at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival has given its top prize, the Palme d’Or, to the mystical Thai film ‘Uncle Boonmee’.

It beat British director Mike Leigh’s ‘Another Year’, which was seen as the favourite by many at the French event.

Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the winning film is about a dying man who is visited by his late wife and his missing son, who has become an ape.

US director Tim Burton led the jury that picked the victor from 19 entries.

Suffering kidney failure, the character is visited by a selection of spiritual beings, both human and animal, as the director uses a dreamlike style to examine the themes of reincarnation and animism.

— Gazette Editors


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