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Officials talk turkey about size of Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (via YouTube)

With Covid-19 still infecting over 200 people per day in Phuket, organisers of the yearly Phuket Vegetarian Festival are fishing for an answer to how big the event planned for October 6 to 14 can be. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said the event’s scale will be based on the Covid-19 situation in the days leading up to the festival.

If Covid-19 is under control the Phuket Vegetarian Festival can go on whole-hog as originally intended, but if infections and risks are still high, officials may chicken out and shrink the event. The festival is usually no chopped liver; it’s a major tourist attraction that draws a huge crowd of people in the flesh. The event caters to the Chinese community who advise against pigging out on meat and stimulants in order to have better peace of mind and healthier lives.

Representatives of Chinese shrines and associations that traditionally make up the meat and potatoes of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival have already been grilling Governor Narong on the situation and the cultural office of the province invites representatives from all the shrines to meet together to talk turkey about the size of the festival.

The Phuket Tourism Council say they really hope the Vegetarian Festival will go on with full size and scope as it’s traditionally a tourism and economy boost that brings home the bacon for many Phuket businesses and vendors. But a festival during a pandemic is a whole different animal, and when trying to predict the Covid-19 situation in Phuket, it’s unwise to count one’s eggs before they hatch.

Covid-19 has been prevalent in Phuket as some blame the government’s ham-fisted handling of the pandemic and need to beef up vaccine roll-out as they struggle for a balance between trying to minimise Covid-19 infections and deaths and saving the tourism industry for international and domestic (largely unvaccinated) travellers.

If Covid-19 infections numbers don’t improve over the next month, some fear a large-scale event like the Phuket Vegetarian Festival may just be leading lambs to the slaughter.

[The author wishes to apologise for the puns in this article; he couldn’t resist putting a little lipstick on the pig and vows to quit the meat-based puns cold turkey.]

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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