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World Expo 2020: Phuket fails to make the cut

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World Expo 2020: Phuket fails to make the cut | The Thaiger
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– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

PHUKET: Ayutthaya, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai have been short-listed in a six-month-long effort to name a Thai candidate city to host World Expo 2020.

The three possible venues, which have emerged after a six-month study by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), will be submitted to the Cabinet next week for approval.

If the Cabinet stands by the list, an in-depth study over the next four months will determine what needs to be done to make one of the three venues the best host city.

TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart said Ayutthaya’s advantage lay in its proximity to Bangkok, but it had the disadvantage of being flood-prone.

Chon Buri (Pattaya) is not far from Suvarnabhumi Airport and is close to a deep-sea port.

Chiang Mai has had the experience of hosting the Royal Expo, but if it is chosen, more infrastructure will need to be developed.

“These three provinces boast good infrastructure, accommodation, local hospitality and potential expansion after the event,” Akapol told a press conference on Friday.

“At this stage, Ayutthaya is ranked No 1, followed by Chon Buri and Chiang Mai.”

Key to Ayutthaya’s position is its easy access to a reasonable public transport network, something which Chon Buri and Chiang Mai (and Phuket) do not have.

Kriengkrai Kanjanapokin, chief executive of Index Event Agency, said earlier that Ayutthaya was the most suitable choice for a world-class event because Bangkok’s public transport network could be extended from Rangsit to Ayutthaya in the decade remaining before Expo date.

“A good mass transit infrastructure is critical to support a big event like this because hundreds of thousands of people will come to the site on a daily basis,” Kriengkrai said.

Phuket was one of the six provinces originally proposed by the TCEB for the Expo.

The Phuket Gazette can only speculate why Phuket has not made the shortlist, but it’s probably a safe bet that the island’s outmoded and widely detested public transport ‘system’ has failed to meet the TCEB’s minimum standards for visitor convenience and safety in this most rudimentary of components for any tourist destination.

Phuket, Pattaya still lead tourism

Bangkok Post
Although Phuket and Pattaya both saw their tourist arrivals plunge last year, the two beach destinations continued to dominate tourism in Thailand outside of Bangkok.

Pattaya came first, with 3.5 million tourists; Phuket second with 2.7 million; Rayong a surprising third with 2 million; Krabi fourth with 1.65 million; and Hua Hin with about 1 million.

But In a research report prepared by Hua Hin-based Nexus Properties it is noted that the health of a tourist destination does not spring from arrival numbers alone. Hua Hin is cited as a good case in point.

Tourist arrivals to Hua Hin rose 9% last year over 2008, while those for Phuket and Pattaya dove. Driving the shear was the tourist demographic, with Hua Hin dependent heavily on Bangkok Thais, while Phuket and Pattaya have traditionally depended on foreigners for the bulk of their trade.

Hua Hin also beat Phuket and Pattaya in hotel occupancy rates, with the destination benefiting not only from increased arrivals but also from more conservative growth (only about 10%) in the number of hotel rooms coming on stream in recent years.

Phuket and Pattaya both continue to suffer from an excessive overhang in room supply.

Gen Sonthi backs panel’s proposal

Bangkok Post
Thailand’s Matubhum Party leader Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said yesterday that he supports the proposal by the political reform committee that the “one constituency, one number” system be introduced in the next general election.

Gen Sonthi, former chief of the now defunct National Security Council, said this at the seminar on political development held yesterday by the Election Commission in Korat.

“The one constituency, one number system would open an opportunity for small political parties to win MP seats at the polls. But I believe big political parties will not agree with this proposal”, Gen Sonthi said.

The leader of the September 2006 military coup which toppled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power did not believe there would be a big political change late this year as foreshadowed by Puea Thai Party chairman Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

“The Democrat-led government is still strong and will stay in power until the end of its term”, Gen Sonthi said.

He added that it is too soon to say whether his Matubhum party would join in the new coalition government after the next general election.

Airport Link to charge for rides

The Nation
The electric train known as the ‘Airport Link’, connecting Bangkok’s Makkasan station and Suvarnabhumi airport will start commercial operations tomorrow, Yuthana Thapcharoen, governor of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT), said yesterday.

However, baggage check-in at the Makkasan station is not yet available as the system installation is not complete. But the service should be available within this year, Yuthana says.

The run-time from Makkasan to Suvarnaphumi is 15 minutes and the train departs every 30 minutes.

The fare will be 100 baht for the non-stop 28-km trip. This special pricing will be maintained until the end of the year before rising to “normal” levels, the SRT says.

The airport link has been running ‘free-ride’ test runs of the service since June 1.

— Gazette Editors

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Weather

Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued

The Thaiger

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Strong wind and waves this morning closes Phuket’s beaches, one swimmer rescued | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Rawai Mayor, Aroon Solos, ordered all beaches in the area to close after a foreigner was rescued this morning after being unable to make it back to shore. The foreigner was swimming off Ao Sane beach, just north of the popular Nai Harn Beach, when lifeguards were sent out to help bring him back to shore. The recent weather has been partly attributed to Tropical Storm Noul as other beaches areas around Patong have been closed since Friday.

Mayor Aroon ordered both the Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches closed until further notice.

Noul crossed over the Vietnamese coastline in the early hours of Friday morning and tracked westwards into Laos, then Thailand’s north east, dragging in moisture from the Indian Ocean and intensifying the south-west monsoon.

The Chief of the Cherngtalay Tambon says that, once weather is more stable, the island’s beaches will reopen.

“All beaches in our area, Surin Beach, Bang Tao beach and other beaches, are closed today. We will reopen them when the weather improves.” Strong winds have contributed to falling trees and power outages across the island with one tree falling on the island’s main traffic artery, Thepkasattri Road, blocking traffic.

Officials are also warning road travellers to drive carefully after a car reportedly flipped over yesterday during wet conditions. The Thai Meteorological Department has also re-issued a weather warning today, saying that Noul has been now downgraded from a Category 3 tropical storm to a tropical depression.

The remnants of Noul currently sit over the Kancanaburi province after surging through Thailand’s north eastern and central provinces earlier today.

“Strong wind waves are likely in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In the upper portion of both seas, the waves will be likely 2-4 meters high and more than 4 meters high in thundershowers. In the lower portion, the waves will be likely about 2 meters and in thundershower areas more than 3 meters high. All ships keep ashore through 20 September.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out | The Thaiger

Residents in Phuket, particularly those living in and around the west coast townships, are reportedly going hungry as the government’s municipal budget to provide food has been depleted. Despite efforts to revive tourism in the area, thousands of people are still in need of donated food to survive and continue to queue up for donated food every day. A public relations staff member at the Patong municipality says, sadly, there is no budget to do any more food handouts in the near future and that there is no word on when or if there will be any more handouts.

The Phuket Town Deputy Mayor told The Phuket News that there has only been 2 handouts since the pandemic struck the tourist-reliant area. One handout was in March while the last handout was in June with the mayor saying 28 million baht was spent in those 2 handouts. Meanwhile a number of foreign residents in the town have been providing supplies for food queues for many months to help the impoverished residents.

One Phuket expat says the majority of those affected in the Patong area are Burmese migrant workers, with long queues for private donations still being seen on the streets of Patong. Such private donations are a result of charity events that are being held across the island with the assistance of dedicated volunteers.

Like Thailand’s Mental Health Department, many are concerned about the impact that food insecurity is having on those struggling. According to the department, 2,551 people had killed themselves across Thailand in the first half of 2020, a 22 % increase, year on year. In response, the National Reform Committee on Labour was ordered on September 11 to issue an amnesty on all outstanding debts, while providing financial support anyone who remains unemployed on the island.

At a recent meeting, other requests were made that include the government giving incentives for more Thais to visit the island and to use social security funds and soft loans as support for local business owners. For now, the situation is grim as Phuket residents are resorting to relying on private charities for food donations.

Phuket’s vice governor Phichet saysd that Phuket has been badly affected by the Covid crises, and delivered 3 requests to the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism… to extend the financial support by the Social Security Office for a further 3 months, allow workers from other provinces to transfer their house registration to Phuket so the Phuket government can receive more funds to provide better care for them, and ask the Ministry of Labour to provide assistance to at least 1,000 unemployed in Phuket.

Whilst the government unveiled plans for a “Phuket Model” to revive tourism on the island, it came to nothing, despite a high power delegation of Ministers and Bangkok officials who visited Phuket 2 weekends ago.

One such charity is set to record a song by leading Phuket musicians with the hopes of continuing to help feed those in need on the island.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Weather

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts

The Thaiger

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Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts | The Thaiger

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea. The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. But the remnants of the storm won’t “slam” into Northern Thailand as one news site claimed – rather it will be a lot of rain and increased winds. The storm is expected to cross into Thailand around the Mukdahan province some time early tomorrow,

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Thailand north east ‘Isaan’ provinces will be the worst affected as they are in the direct track of the storm as it crosses Vietnam, into Laos, and then crossing Thailand’s borders in the upper north east in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Whilst tropical storm ‘Noul’ has been packing winds from 80 – 120 kilometres per hour as it reaches the central Vietnam coast areas, including popular tourist locations like Da Nang and Hoi An, the storm will continue to dissipate as it moves inland. The storm has been tracking across the South China Sea this week, gathering strength, in a west northwesterly direction.

Residents in the coastal town of Hoi An report that it rained continuously last night, with strong winds, and that they expect widespread flooding to be reported during the day.

The forecast for heavy rain in Bangkok will probably dampen some of the enthusiasm for tomorrow’s anti-government rally to be held in and around the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus.

Here are the forecasts for Saturday and Sunday around the country…

Bangkok

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Phuket

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Pattaya

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Khon Kaen

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Koh Samui

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Read more about Thailand’s annual monsoons HERE.

SOURCE: weather.com

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