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Startling plans for Phuket’s future

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Startling plans for Phuket’s future | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Four Cabinet members attended high-powered meetings with Phuket government officials and local businessmen on Friday and Saturday (July 4 and 5), indicating that the government is still committed to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s vision of Phuket as a regional hub for transport, medical tourism, IT, duty-free shopping and yachting. The Saturday meeting at Royal Phuket City Hotel was led by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and attended by Tourism and Sports Minister Sontaya Kunplome, Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Surapong Suebwonglee. Several startling government initiatives were announced, most with three-month timetables for specific tasks to be accomplished: Duty-free shopping: The Customs Department is considering tax exemptions on certain products, such as wristwatches and leather products, in order to develop the island into a “shopper’s paradise”. Marine leisure industry: The Finance Ministry, Excise Department and Customs Department will work together to eliminate registration fees for yachts and do away with import duties on foreign yachts, which now stand at about 47%. International conference center: The government continues to support the multi-billion-baht project, though no site has yet been chosen. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, which supported Saphan Hin as the site, will further study the siting issue and make its recommendations to the cabinet. A special committee will be formed to coordinate the project, and a final conclusion is expected within three months. K. Somkid and other officials visited both the Saphan Hin site and the site at Mai Khao, which is supported by a majority of Phuket residents. Spa industry promotion: The government will support the growing spa industry as an environmentally-friendly way to diversify Phuket’s tourism economy. The Public Health Ministry and Board of Investment (BoI) will cooperate to adopt standards for the industry to make it more competitive internationally. Medical hub: Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan announced that the Ministry would be ready to declare Phuket a “medical hub” at the beginning of next year. Health-tourism packages will be promoted along with Thai traditional massage and spa therapies, for which the Ministry will establish hygiene and safety standards. IT City: The ICT Ministry will continue its efforts to make Phuket a “cyber paradise” by coordinating a pilot effort to integrate Phuket’s government agencies through IT technology. The government will try to attract foreign investment and know-how for the industry by improving infrastructure. Plans to accomplish this will be drawn up and approved within three months. The Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) will also be established within three months. The ICT and Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) will add 14,400 fixed-line telephone numbers and will make broadband Internet connections available to 80% of the island’s fixed lines within six months. Phuket will tap directly into the global Internet cable system within one year, by-passing the existing connection through Bangkok. Prince of Songkhla University will cooperate with the ICT Ministry to establish a new program to meet the needs of the local software industry, the success of which will depend on a ready supply of young people with programming skills. Transport: In a meeting on Friday at Phuket International Airport, K Somkid said that a Cabinet committee was preparing a request for a 500-million-baht budget from the BoI to improve Phuket’s transport infrastructure. It noted that that total will not cover all budget requests from all transport agencies. The Airports Authority of Thailand alone has requested 500 million baht for a massive upgrade to the airport that would include runway extensions, expansion of the main and cargo terminals, and many other improvements. Other budget requests include: – The Harbor Department’s 350-million baht request to upgrade the deep sea port at Ao Por, Thalang. The project’s environmental impact assessment is still being prepared. – Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi’s 38-million baht plan to construct a new bus terminal for the island in Koh Kaew to ease traffic congestion in Phuket Town. K. Somkid, however, viewed the proposed site as too far from the city center and expressed worry about the environmental effects of building there. – Other areas for transport improvement discussed included roadside rest stops and language training for taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. K. Somkid said that a cabinet committee will evaluate all of the proposed transport projects and submit the 500-million-baht budget request to the BoI within one month.



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Patong

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety

Tanutam Thawan

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Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.

He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.

He was 57 years old.

He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.

The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.

Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”

Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

Phuket villager braves the surf to rescue tangled turtle

Tanutam Thawan

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Phuket villager braves the surf to rescue tangled turtle | The Thaiger

A local villager in Phuket’s north has risked his own life to retrieve a young sea turtle caught up in fishermen’s netting. The turtle was spotted, caught up in the branches of a fallen tree along the shores of Mai Khao beach. The monsoon was kicking up big waves and it’s unlikely the locals knew how to swim, especially in the surf conditions.

The local villager makes a few attempts to retrieve the turtle, eventually separating the turtle and netting from the tree branches with a meat cleaver.

After clearing the netting from around the turtle’s flippers and neck, it was taken by an officer from the local Phuket Department of Marine Resources for evaluation and treatment before it will be released back to the sea.

VIDEO: ห้องวีอาร์ ทะเลใต้ // @มานพ สิงห์ 8802

🔴 #ภูเก็ต #เต่าติดอวน วันนี้ 17 สิงหาคม 2562 ชาวบ้านได้ช่วยเหลือเต่าติดอวนพันตามคอลำตัว คลื่นได้ซัดเจ้าเต่าน้อย เข้าหาฝั่งหน้าหาดไม้ขาว ชาวบ้านได้แก้เชือกออกตามคลิป และได้เเจ้งเจ้าหน้าที่มารับไปอนุบาลเป็นที่เรียบร้อย #NewshawkPhuket Cr.ห้องวีอาร์ ทะเลใต้ // @มานพ สิงห์ 8802

Posted by เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket on Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Environment

Marium, the baby dugong internet star, dies. Plastic found in stomach.

Tanutam Thawan

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Marium, the baby dugong internet star, dies. Plastic found in stomach. | The Thaiger

The orphaned female baby dugong, winning the hearts of many and helping to educate Thais about the importance of the local dugong population, has died with plastic waste lining its stomach, prompting a surge of mourning on social media.

Marium was found in April off the coast of Krabi, southern Thailand, and photos of her nuzzling marine biologists quickly went viral. When a second orphaned dugong was found, subsequently named Jamil by Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, the pair became internet stars.

Dugongs, a species of sea cow, are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, facing environmental threats including pollution, habitat loss and hunting. In Thailand, Marium and Jamil soon became symbols for the conservation of the oceans. Fans could watch Marium on a live feed, receiving veterinary treatment, and being fed up to 15 times a day.

But last week the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources posted that Marium was sick and refusing food. Marium died just after midnight on Saturday morning. An autopsy revealed plastic debris in the intestine, resulting in inflammation and the accumulation of gas, as well as a respiratory infection and a buildup of pus.

The DMCR posted the announcement of the death of “little angel” Marium.

Veterinarian Nantarika Chansue, who treated Marium, says, “She taught us how to love and then went away as if saying please tell everyone to look after us and conserve her species..”

Marium, the baby dugong internet star, dies. Plastic found in stomach. | News by The Thaiger

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