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TAT sees revival of Japanese tourism in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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TAT sees revival of Japanese tourism in Phuket | The Thaiger

PATONG: The Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Tokyo office expects about 300,000 Japanese to visit Phuket during the second half of 2005, as the message that it is now safe to return to Phuket is finally being heard.

TAT Tokyo Office Director Patchaneelux Swatdee made the comments during a meeting of tourism industry experts at the Graceland Resort and Spa in Patong.

The meeting, chaired by Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura, was part of the Phuket leg of the “2nd MEGA-FAM” trip from Japan, which saw some 180 members of the Japanese tourism industry escorted around Bangkok and the Andaman region on an all-expenses-paid “familiarization trip” intended to show that Thai tourism is functioning normally after the tsunami.

The tour was organized by the Tourism Council of Thailand and the TAT.

The TAT arranged all accommodation, tour programs and ground support, while Thai Airways provided all air tickets. The visitors are staying at luxury hotels in Phuket, courtesy of a number of top resorts.

Their August 24-27 tour began in Bangkok with a briefing about developments at the scandal-plagued Suvarnabhumi Airport, new tourism products available in Thailand and an overview of tourism in the country.

The visitors’ itinerary in the Andaman region included a visit to the tsunami early-warning towers at Patong Beach and a tour of islands and beaches in Phang Nga Bay.

In her speech, K. Patchaneelux said that Japanese arrivals to Phuket plummeted after the tsunami, even though some 487,000 Japanese arrived at Bangkok International Airport between January and June, a rise of more than 5% compared with the first half of 2004.

Tourists from Japan opted to go to resorts in other parts of the country, such as Hua Hin and Koh Chang, because they felt it would be disrespectful to visit a place that had recently suffered a disaster, she added.

She felt confident that close co-operation between the TAT and the Japanese Association of Travel Agents would help dispel misconceptions about the real extent of the damage in the region.

“The Japanese are still very keen to help tsunami-affected areas. We were still getting donations at the Thai Embassy in Japan until the TAT asked them to stop, explaining that the best way to help is by taking a vacation here,” she said.

“Between July and December [2005], we expect a total of 800,000 Japanese to visit Thailand. The nationwide target for 2005 is 1.3 million tourists. We hosted almost 500,000 visitors in the first half of the year,” K. Patchaneelux added.

“We expect 300,000 Japanese tourists to visit Phuket between July and December. We have been working hard to help the Andaman Region, and we really believe we can do it.”

Tourism Council of Thailand President Vichit Na Ranong told the meeting that the National Disaster Warning Center’s Tsunami Early-Warning System, already completed in Patong, would go a long way toward reassuring the Japanese market that Phuket can conduct a successful evacuation, should another tsunami appear imminent.

The tsunami only affected 10% to 15% of the island, and it is now completely safe to travel here, he told his Japanese guests.

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

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.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

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.

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