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Riddle in THAI’s Phuket policy

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Riddle in THAI’s Phuket policy | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: Cancellations and a shortfall in advance bookings are forcing THAI Airways to revise its route network, capacity and fleet use to curb losses. Phuket continues to be a riddle in the plans.

According to TTR Weekly, adjustments are being made to keep the average cabin factor through the second quarter at around 70, about 2.16% points below the April average.

THAI President Piyasvasti Amranand had said that a contingency plan would be activated on May 4, concentrating on Phuket since it remains the most viable destination in Thailand with continued strong bookings throughout the Bangkok protests.

“Since the decline in bookings to Thailand, we have to concentrate on sales to Bali, Australian cities and Auckland, New Zealand. As the Indonesian national airline is not so strong, we can sell Bangkok as a transit hub to Bali.

“We will [also] have to start more direct flights to Phuket as soon as possible,” he said.

However, the perception of Phuket as an antidote to the airline’s sagging passenger loads may encounter some stiff headwinds.

On April 1, the national carrier hiked the price of an ‘economy’ class ticket on the Bangkok-Phuket route by 46%, while the Chiangmai-Phuket run was dealt a whopping 64% rise.

Kiwi expat dies in crash

New Zealand Herald
A New Zealander who survived the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami died in a freak motorbike accident in Phuket last week.

John Grant Kerr, 53, broke his neck after falling off his bike at Patong Beach.

Kerr died instantly after hitting his head on the footpath about 100m from the ‘Anzac Bar’, which he had bought in 2005.

Sister Marlene Foley said he was a keen traveller and a “fun-loving and caring person”.

His bar was popular with tourists and he was a social person with a lot of friends.

Bangkok Air turns to locals

Bangkok Post
Bangkok Airways is joining forces with local hoteliers and tourism bodies in discount campaigns to attract local tourists to Thai beach resorts, particularly Phuket, Samui and Trat, to offset a plunge in foreign visitors.

International arrivals have plummeted after many countries advised their citizens against visiting Thailand due to its political turmoil.

Bangkok Airways’ passenger numbers were down by 30% last month, and by 50% so far this month, said vice-president Nandhika Varavarn.

Because of its heavy reliance on international tourists, who constitute 80% of its passengers, Bangkok Airways is now trying to reduce this dependence to 70%, while raising the percentage of Thai and expatriate residents to 30%.

M.L. Nandhika says that, “Basically, anyone who buys a Bangkok Air ticket [to those three destinations] will get a hotel room, transfer service and even breakfast for free.”

The campaigns will run to mid-July, helping the airline, as well as hospitality and tourism companies, to stay afloat during the low season.

Phuket unfazed by tsunami warning

NBT Phuket
A tsunami watch followed a 7.4 magnitude earthquake which struck off northern Sumatra in Indonesia at around 1pm Thai time on Sunday afternoon.

In Phuket, sea gypsies on Ko Sireh, east of Phuket Town, evacuated to safe shelters at a local school. They said they felt the earthquake. Some, however, kept up their routines while waiting for official warnings and kept their eyes on the level of the sea.

Meanwhile, residents and tourists in Patong carried on as normal, some sunbathing and walking on the beach.

After no tsunami waves had been detected, the NDWC sent out SMS messages to revoke the watch, at 14:11, Phuket time.

Koreans love Phuket

National News Bureau of Thailand
A group of 38 delegates from Thailand, including tourism entrepreneurs, hoteliers, and golf and spa operators from Phuket, along with members of the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA), went to Seoul and Busan late last month to attract Koreans to Phuket.

During the demonstrations in Bangkok over the past two months, 90% of the bookings for hotels in Bangkok and Pattaya were reported to have been canceled, while the cancellations for Phuket were said to have stood at only about 5%.

Thailand is the third favorite destination for Koreans, following Japan and China. Golfing and honeymoon trips to Phuket and Koh Samui are particularly popular.

There are about 20 direct flights between Seoul and Phuket each week.

Phuket Tourist Association President Somboon Jirayus voiced his confidence that the Korean market for Phuket will expand at 10-15%, especially if THAI Airways launches its direct flights between Seoul and Phuket.

Bargains in Phuket

PR-Urgent
Phuket will play host to an “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” again this summer, June 15 through August 15.

The event is nationwide and sees price cuts ranging from 5 to 80 per cent. The discounts apply to products such as clothing, jewelery and food, as well as travel packages, rounds of golf at various Phuket courses, and a number of other products and services.

The list includes both homegrown, handmade products and items imported from around the world.

The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale will also bring with it a number of special events exclusive to Phuket, details of which will be released closer to the time.

Thai censorship under scrutiny

The Jakarta Post
Thailand’s declaration of a state of emergency has served to further aggravate its negative image regarding freedom of the press.

Immediately, it ordered 36 politically oriented websites blocked, along with key red shirt radio stations and their satellite TV connection.

Accusations of bias were raised as none belonging to the Yellow Shirts are known to have been targeted.

Reporters Without Borders says that over the past few years more than 50,000 websites have been blocked.

“Thailand is getting increasingly like China when it comes to Internet censorship,” said Poomjit Sirawongprasert, president of the Thai [Website] Hosting Service Providers Club.

Consequently, Thailand’s standing in the Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders plunged to 130 last year, from 65 in 2002.

— Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… โ€œWe want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,โ€

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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