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Tourism industry backlash staves off doubling of park entry fees

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Tourism industry backlash staves off doubling of park entry fees | The Thaiger

THAILAND: The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) has decided to rethink its plans to double the entrance fees to National Parks after coming under fire from tourism businesses.

The DNP had planned to double park entry fees so that foreign children would pay 200 baht, foreign adults 400 baht, Thai children 20 baht and Thai adults 40 baht.

Phuket Tourist Association President Pattanapong Aekwanich, told the Gazette that he disagreed with increasing the National Park fees, in spite of the DNP’s claims that they are short of money.

K. Pattanapong also said that he thought that in some cases entry fees should be decreased, citing Sirinath National Park at Nai Yang as an example. He said that he thought the 200-baht entry fee for foreign adults was already too much as the park’s facilities were not good and there was nothing for tourists to see or do.

“If the prices are too high, tourists will visit other attractions,” he said, explaining that for a couple of hundred baht more, instead of visiting Sirinath National Park tourists could visit Simon Cabaret.

“The fees are already high and if the officers were more strict in collecting them, then the DNP would have enough money. But if the DNP raises its entry fees, tourist businesses will be affected and the burden will be passed on to consumers. This will have a negative effect on tourism,” K. Pattanapong added.

K. Pattanapong’s sentiments were echoed across the bay in Krabi, where Ittirit Kinglek, Chief of the Krabi Tourism Business Association, said, “The government wants to promote tourism, but the DNP wants to increase [National Park entrance] fees, which is the opposite of what tourism businesses in the Andaman region need.

“The current rates are already quite high for tourists and tour agencies. If the price is increased to 400 baht [per foreign adult], it will be harder for tourists to pay and some national parks do not have high-standard accommodation and services. If we increase prices, then we should improve the parks and facilities, too.”

“We have asked for the DNP to rethink the idea. Tourism is still feeling the effects of the tsunami, the World Cup is now on and it is the low season. It is not a good time to raise prices.”

Kridwikrome Kleawkla, Chief Assistant at Sirinath National Park, said, “If the head office thinks prices should be raised, then they must have their reasons.”

“At Sirinath National Park I have to explain to tourists before they decide to enter the park that the facilities have not been fully restored to the standard they were before the tsunami.

“I think the proposed new rates will not affect tourists; they can pay the higher prices, but if we charge ‘international’ prices, then we should improve the park to international standards,” he added.

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Democrats toppled in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation



Democrats toppled in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned the leadership position last night amid dismal polls around the country

The Democrat Party in Phuket, once a reliable strong-hold of Democrat votes, has yielded its customary monopoly, ceding two House seats to the junta-aligned Phalang Pracharat Party.

The unofficial tally, as of late last night, gave Phalang Pracharat’s Sutha Prateep na Thalang the victory in Constituency 1 with 32,338 votes.

He beat Democrat Rewat Areerob, who got 25,198 votes.

The voter turnout was 70.80 per cent.

In Constituency 2, Natthee Thinsakhu of Phalang Pracharat beat Democrat Chaiyos Panyawai, 26,787 votes to 23,492.

Voter turnout was 72.57 per cent.

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Guyanese arrested over ‘magic’ bank note scam in Phuket

The Thaiger



Guyanese arrested over ‘magic’ bank note scam in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Surachete Hakparn

A Guyanese man has been arrested in Phuket after the owner of a local language school reported a money scammer with an unusual scam.

The Immigration Bureau Chief Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn reports that they have arrested the Guyanese man named Abdul Kalam Azad Sattaur at a mansion in Phuket Town last Friday.

The arrest follows a Thai woman, the owner of a language school in Phuket, filing a report to the Thalang Police that a suspect used a fake Facebook and LINE account and claimed that he was an American man who had worked in Syria.

He told the woman that he will send a security box which contained blank papers and a special liquid that would turn the blank paper into bank notes when she added the special liquid.

He claimed that the total money was 650,000 US dollar, about 20 million baht.

He said that the woman had to pay him an amount before he would send the security box. The victim had transferred money to the man’s bank account 10 times, a total of about 9 million baht.

Beware of magic bank notes!

Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Guyanese arrested over 'magic' bank note scam in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Russian ‘mafia’ suspect arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger



Russian ‘mafia’ suspect arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Siam Rath/Thai Immigration

A male Russian ‘mafia’ identity has been arrested in Chalong, wanted over a number of alleged offenses in his home country.

Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn says, “Officers have arrested a Russian man named Igor Tretiakov (spelt as ‘Ior’ on the Immigration poster), at an apartment in Chalong last Friday.”

“We were notified from the Russian Embassy about the man wanted over a number of ‘mafia’ style offenses in Russian. He was living in Thailand using a tourist visa.”

“He has threatened and extorted many people in Russian and then fled to Thailand. His visa will be revoked and he will be deported back to Russia to face charges.”

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