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International passengers must pay new B15 surcharge per flight

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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THAILAND: Air passengers travelling in and out of Thailand now have to pay a “surcharge” of 15 baht per person per flight.

Following ongoing investigations and criticism by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of deficiencies in Thailand’s flight safety standards, the funds raised from the charge will be be used primarily to address those ills. However, the move has angered the head of the travel agents’ association.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreed on November 1 to implement the new charge, but it did not go into full effect until yesterday.

The extra fee is being added to air-ticket prices by IATA, the global aviation authority, which will also get a cut of the proceeds.

Currently, IATA oversees and supervises 265 aviation authorities representing 85 per cent of global aviation.

According to the Tourism Association of Thailand, the country is expected to receive more than 32 million international tourists this year, while more than six million Thais will travel overseas.

Based on the total passenger numbers from two flights per trip per person, the new surcharge should generate about 1.1 billion baht per year.

Charoen Wangananont, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), expressed doubts about the new surcharge.

Despite the imperative of adequate flight safety standards for Thailand, Mr Charoen wondered why “foreign” organizations such as IATA have the right to intervene into the country’s business in such a big decision as the surcharge, saying it was not fair to make travellers into and out of “this country” pay a fee that IATA itself will have some benefit from.

“If the government wants to solve aviation problems or develop further projects, it should grant a special budget and let the Thai authorities do it, not ask for money from passengers. And IATA should not be involved in this issue,” Mr Charoen said.

He added that local aviation experts working at the CAAT should be paid by the Thai government, not by passengers.

In the third quarter of this year, 8.2 million foreigners travelled to Thailand. China continued to be the main source market with 2.4 million visitors during the three-month period. Arrivals from Europe came in at around 1.2 million, up 12 per cent from the third quarter last year, while there were 2.2 million visitors from Asean countries, up 14 per cent.

IATA said last week that global passenger traffic in September grew 7 per cent compared with the same month in 2015. This was the strongest year-on-year increase in seven months. Capacity climbed 6.6 per cent.

European carriers saw September demand rise 5.2 per cent over September 2015.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 8.6 per cent in September, compared with the same month a year ago, although there are still signs of Asian travellers being put off by terrorism in Europe.

Middle East carriers had an 11.5-per-cent rise in demand in September compared with a year ago.

— The Nation

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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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