PHUKET: Tri Augkaradacha, Phuket’s 43rd governor, was promoted to the top job on October 1, 2010, when he set tourism promotion as his prime policy objective. Here, in his regular monthly “Governor’s Letter” in the Phuket Gazette, he talks about the problem of unregistered hotels, a stalled road project, and the coincidence that he and PM Yingluck Shinawatra are both alumni of the same university in the USA.
“Statistics as of September 12 show that there are 279 hotels with a total of 31,014 rooms legally registered with the province.
“As for hotels operating without permission, there are 117 that we are aware of.
“The owners of these hotels are running businesses without initial environmental evaluations (IEEs) or environmental impact assessments (EIAs), or [their hotels] were built without the necessary construction permits from local authorities.
“There are also apartments, guesthouses and condominiums that offer daily accommodations and other services that fall under the Hotel Act, so they should be registered as such.
“I would like to bring both of these groups into the system and have them legally registered. I have been working on a policy to help achieve this and I held a meeting with the [illegal] operators to inform them of my efforts – I will help them make it right.
“I admit that in the past, the government sector was lax in terms of enforcement, so now I need to compromise with them – both for their benefit and ours.
“For a start, the government would benefit from increased tax revenue from these businesses. Second, it would be good for them in terms of marketing and in obtaining investment funding. Currently, hotel operators go abroad on [promotional] road shows many times a year. Customers and travel agencies always make deals [mainly] with legally-registered hotels.
“Also, hotels that don’t have legal registration documents are ineligible to apply for investment through proper channels. Some must seek loans from informal funds [sources] that charge high interest rates.
“For the proposed road project under the high-voltage power pylons from Phuket International Airport to the bypass road, this project was initiated by former governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop as an alternative to Thepkrasattri Road.
“Though there has not been much progress on this project, we still maintain it as part of our yearly development plan. We are now in the process of [trying to] expropriate 207 plots of land from 175 different owners. Some have agreed to provide the required land, but some have not. Once we acquire all the necessary plots we will continue by doing the EIA and seeking a 450-million-baht budget.
“There are concerns that it will not be safe to have a road under high-voltage power lines. People ask what will happen if a car crashes into one of the pylons – will the whole island be blacked out? Or would exposure to electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage lines be dangerous to drivers?
“The Phuket Highways Office and Phuket Provincial Office are responsible for this project, so it will fall to them to study these issues and find the best solutions.
“You [Phuket Gazette] asked about the fact that I earned my master’s degree from Kentucky State in Frankfort, Kentucky, also the alma mater of current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. I did [also] study in the same field [public administration] and university as PM Yingluck, who also got her bachelor’s degree at Chiang Mai University.
“However, I studied at these schools about 15 years before her and we don’t know each other personally.
“At any rate, she is my boss now and I see she is performing well [and] to the best of her abilities. I will take action to put her policies into practice in Phuket.”
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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