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Pabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline

The Thaiger

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Pabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline | The Thaiger
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30,000 people are estimated to have been evacuated from coastal districts in Nakhon Si Thammarat whilst some tourists are taking precautions of leaving the Gulf holiday islands, airports close, boats remain at mooring and schools are shut.

Thailand’s southern Gulf coast prepares for winds up to 95kph, heavy downpours and floods. From Nakhon Si Thammarat up to Chumpon provinces, emergency services are on standby as the topical storm surges along the coastline.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat airport was closed last night. The closure affects flights provided by Nok Air, AirAsia and Lion Air. Airlines are scheduling additional flights to affected areas from Sunday.

Meanwhile the Airports of Thailand is instructing airports in Surat Thani, Chumphon, Ranong, Trang and Narathiwat to closely monitor the storm and take measures to deal with its impact. Phuket Airport, whilst not in the direct path of the storm, is on alert and expecting poor weather on Saturday.

Pabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline | News by The Thaiger

Pabuk is now moving slowly north-west past Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla, whilst heading for Surat Thani and Chumpon – mostly following the coastline.

Pabuk is also expected to bring heavy downpours of up to 300 millimetres daily, plus flash floods and landslides in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Chumphon. Satun, Trang, Krabi and Phuket are more likely to be affected later today and tomorrow.

Wattana Kanbua, director of the Marine Meteorological Centre, also warned of very rough sea conditions, saying waves could reach 7 metres high in the Gulf of Thailand and up to 3 metres in the Andaman Sea.

With strong gales and high waves expected, Wattana said people living along the eastern coasts of Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao, as well as the eastern coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla will be hit by a storm surge.

He is suggesting people should stay away from the coastline during the storm.

Pabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline | News by The ThaigerPabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline | News by The Thaiger

More than 30,000 residents of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s six seaside districts have been moving to evacuation centres set up amid concerns that Pabuk will cause severe damage.

Sichon district chief Piboon Nakthippiman said the evacuation operation in his area had been conducted smoothly and that more than 2,400 people have already taken shelter at the Wat Huai Saithong School. He also said the centre was fully equipped with all the supplies and equipment needed to endure the impact of the storm.

All ships in the Gulf of Thailand have been anchored since yesterday, while flights from affected provinces are suspended today.

Tourism on both sides of the peninsula has also been disrupted, with visitors fleeing popular destinations like Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao. Ferry services and boat tours to Koh Phi Phi and other islands in Krabi province on the Andaman Sea were also stopped yesterday and unlikely to be resumed until Sunday. The Similan Islands in Phang Nga have also been closed due to the threat of poor weather from the storm.

Pabuk: Friday awakes with the storm surging up the Gulf coastline | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Nation | The Thaiger | Thai Meteorological Department

Keep up-to-date with the latest 2019 Pabuk storm coverage on The Thaiger.

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Tourism

Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry

Maya Taylor

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Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry | The Thaiger

Leading Thai academics are calling on the government to get a move on and help the tourism industry before it’s too late. Addressing a gathering arranged by the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, Kiriya Kulkolkran from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, pointed to the 80% drop in international tourism as a result of the Covid-19 fallout. His estimate includes the first few months of the year when there was actually a functional tourism industry in Thailand.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Kiriya says just 4% of businesses in the tourism sector say they’ve made the same amount or more than they did before Covid-19. She adds that a survey shows employees in the industry are concerned about debt accumulation and “extremely worried about the future”.

Bovorn Subsing, from Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, has backed up the comments, saying tourism workers have seen their wages drop by 60%, while still facing the same, or higher, cost of living. The result is that most are now in debt.

Kiriya predicts the devastation could continue for over 3 years, affecting not just tourism operators but the entire supply chain, as well as new graduates and those seeking their first job. She says that until the sector recovers, the government needs to provide tailored help for businesses, singling out Phuket hotels, who are struggling to survive without foreign guests.

The islands of Phuket and Samui, plus the other ‘tourist’ islands around Thailand, are facing a particular problem as they’re mostly geared for the international tourist market. Domestic tourism, rebooted last July when the local airlines were permitted to fly again, has mostly shunned the popular tourist islands.

One worker at a Phuket hotel, 52 year old Anchisa Sirinanthasak, addressed the forum in support of a possible co-payment scheme for hotel workers. It’s understood most hotel operators are paying employees 62-75% of their normal salary, which works out at around 8,000-9,000 baht per person and is not enough to cover their costs.

Meanwhile, Manop Kaewphaka from Homenet Thailand, a non-profit that protects home-based workers, has called on the government to allow foreign tourists back into the Kingdom and to provide more support for informal workers, in the form of wage guarantees and co-payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Visa

Foreigners report alleged visa scam in Koh Samui

Caitlin Ashworth

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Foreigners report alleged visa scam in Koh Samui | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77kaoded

A Thai woman in Koh Samui allegedly ripped off at least 8 foreigners by offering visa extension services and taking off with the money. A group of foreigners reported the scam to officers at the Bo Phut police station, saying they placed deposits ranging from 10,000 baht to even 100,000 baht, but the services were never fulfilled.

A man posted a video on Facebook warning people about the alleged scam and saying he believes the woman stole around 10 million baht. A Thai TV news report shows a J&R Accounting business card for “Joy” which advertises accounting and work permit services.

“Be careful with your visa… There are a lot of people that just want your money and they don’t give the service.”

Apparently, some of the foreigners paid a deposit 6 months ago. They say Joy kept reassuring them that their applications processing. Now that visa amnesty is up, the foreigners worry about potential problems with immigration, Thai media reports.

Police told Thai media that this isn’t the first time they’ve heard of Joy. They issued a summons for her in the past. If she does not respond to the second summons, the police may go to court and request a warrant for her arrest.

A little over a week ago, at the neighbouring island Koh Pha Ngan, a language school allegedly ripped off more than 100 foreigners, claiming they were able to issue them with a 1 year education visa.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Tourism

Phuket & Koh Samui face financial ruin in the short to medium term – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Phuket & Koh Samui face financial ruin in the short to medium term – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Phuket and Samui are both islands, fed mostly by arrivals at their international airports. Of course, both remain closed and the islands are trying to survive on a dribble of domestic tourists. And there’s no sign of hope any time soon for the future. Bill Barnett is ‘Mr Hotel & Hospitality’ for Thailand and the region. What does he see as the short and long term solutions? Your comments are also welcome, below. You can also watch our stark report about how empty Phuket actually is HERE.

Bill is the MD and leading consultant forc9hotelworks.com

 

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