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Update: Phuket International Film Festival

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Update: Phuket International Film Festival | The Thaiger
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– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Scheduled for June 4-13, the Phuket International Film Festival is offering 10 days of award-winning movies, parties and networking events with international filmmakers, cultural activities and, of course, world-famous Thai hospitality.

The film festival is unique in that events will be held all over Phuket, allowing visitors to experience the spice of island life as activities take place in their backyards.

The Gala Opening will take place on June 5 at Royal Phuket Marina and promises to be an evening of meeting and shmoozing with international movie stars, politicos and VIPs from Phuket Island.

Tickets for all events are available at the main theatre screening location, the Coliseum Cineplex next to Robinsons in Phuket Town.

The Phuket International Film Festival is sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV.

For more information, call the Festival Hot Line on 081-722 4461 or click here.

On the move at Phuket Radisson

Asia Travel Tips
The Radisson Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach has promoted Siriwan Nipatchareon to Director of Sales and Marketing following a two year tenure as Director of Sales.

Siriwan played a critical role in managing the resort’s pre-opening sales activities. Her prior employment includes the luxurious Conrad hotel in Bangkok, Le Royal Méridien Bangkok, and the Hotel Sofitel Central Hua Hin.

Ms Thitaya Yenwattana has been appointed as the new Director of Sales. Her employment portfolio includes placements in the Sales Department at the Conrad Bangkok and as part of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit’s pre-opening team.

Thitaya has fifteen years of dedicated experience and will be based at the Radisson Phuket resort’s Bangkok Sales Office.

Police force under fire

Opinion: The Nation
Former prime minister Chuan Leekpai, chairman of the Democrat Party’s advisory team, has suggested that the Thai national police force should be reformed, pointing to the agency’s ineffectiveness in the midst of the recent chaos in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

One cannot dismiss the argument that the police need a serious overhaul, starting with the recruitment process and the need for clarification over their mandate, responsibilities and duties.

The country needs to come up with ways that permit public participation in keeping the police in line, enabling the people to reclaim control over the agency that is supposed to protect and serve them.

Java gains from Thai turmoil

The Jakarta Post
According to Ling Herdiwan, head of the West Java Tourism and Culture Office, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in West Java has substantially risen, to an average of 1,000 per day, following the recent political conflicts in Thailand and the opening of direct flights from Malayaisa to Bandung.

Speaking at the Sate building in Bandung after kicking off the West Java Adventure-Off Road event, Ling said that at least 300 tourists who had initially planned to go to Thailand last week, for example, suddenly changed their destination to West Java.

“Travel agencies which had signed contracts with the tourists to go to Thailand, changed their itineraries to other destinations, including West Java,” Ling said.

Free tourist visas and insurance extended

TTRWeekly
The Thai government has extended its emergency insurance scheme for tourists stranded during a protest or riot. The government is also extending the waiver on tourist visa fees. Both extensions will expire March 31, 2011.

The insurance scheme is underwritten by a government budget that pays a premium of US$1 per day, per tourist.

The insurance covers tourists for injuries or a disruption of their travel program due to political disturbances; hospital costs, accommodation, food and transfer costs if a tourist’s departure is delayed; and repatriation if airline arrangements are deemed invalid.

The scheme also pays out a lump sum to the family of a tourist killed during a disturbance.

— Gazette Editors

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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