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Pagunsan wins at Laguna Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Pagunsan wins at Laguna Phuket | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Juvic Pagunsan from the Philippines recorded his first win on the Mercedes-Benz Tour yesterday following a runaway seven-stroke victory in the US$60,000 Mercedes-Benz Masters Thailand at Laguna Phuket Golf Club.

Starting the day with a four-stoke lead he closed with a five-under-par 65.

Thailand’s Udorn Duangdecha claimed outright second after shooting a 68 while Lam Chih Bing from Singapore was one stroke further back in third position. He carded a 67.

The talk of the town has been the phenomenal performance of 13-year-old Pinsawat Pariwat, an amateur golfer from Phuket closed with a 70 to finish tied fifth.

Pagunsan bogeyed his first hole but then carded six birdies, including four in the last six. He finished with a four round aggregate of 19-under-par 261.

“This is really special. It is only my second win as a professional overseas. My wife and young daughter are also here so it’s very emotional,” said Pagunsan.

The 32 year old has come close to winning a couple of times this year on the Mercedes-Benz Tour with two top-10 finishes but has fallen back over the closing stages.

“I have been working hard on my swing with my coach Junced. It was too upright and so we had to flatten my backswing. It’s now working and my confidence is sky high,” added Pagunsan, who won US$9,750.

Udorn, who won the Mercedes-Benz Tour’s second event in Pattaya, once again showed that he is enjoying one of the finest periods of his 10-year professional career.

“I am just putting so well this year. I wish it had been like this all my career,” said Udorn, who once again wore striking Tiger striped pants much to the delight of the huge galleries.

Pinsawat had a nervy two over par front nine back came back two under and has firmly establish himself as one of the region’s most exciting young prospects.

“I learned a lot this week playing with the professionals. I need to work on my driving to play well at this level. I was not hitting it straight. This week has given me so much confidence ahead of my first trip to play in America next month,” said Pinsawat, who nickname is ‘Gress’ as in progress.

His grandfather Prachuab Sabcharoen caddied for him. Mr Prachuab is the current youth team coach in Phuket and a former president of the Thailand Senior PGA.

All the more remarkable is that Pinsawat was a last minute sponsor invite after being recommended to play by Martin Carpenter, MBE, British Honorary Consul in Phuket and the foreign co-ordinator for the Thailand Golf Association junior golf program for southern Thailand.

Leading final round scores:

261 – Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 66 65 65 65

268 – Udorn Duangdecha (THA) 70 64 66 68

269 – Lam Chih Bing (SIN) 65 68 69 67

271 – Thanyakon Khrongpha (THA) 69 67 68 67

272 – Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 65 68 69 70, Pinsawat Pariwat (Am) (THA) 67 68 67 70

274 – Prom Meesawat (THA) 71 67 68 68, Pattaraphol Khanthacha (THA) 65 65 70 74

275 – Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA) 68 73 69 65, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 70 66 70 69, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 68 68 68 71

277 – Vuttipong Puangkeaw (THA) 70 64 71 72

278 – Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA) 67 73 72 66, S. Murthy (MAS) 68 69 73 68, Atthaphon Prathummanee (THA) 70 70 69 69, Namchok Tantipokakul (THA) 66 69 73 70, Jakkapong Juntavara (THA) 71 68 69 70

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


70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good

Caitlin Ashworth



70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good | The Thaiger

Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently. But the statistics are not quite that simple, with the east side of the island, largely inhabited by locals with the central business district of Phuket Town and some of the more popular expat towns, doing far better than the tourist magnets of the west coast. The Thaiger estimates that on the west coast the number would exceed 90%.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. (Again the percentage along the west coast is MUCH higher – just take a drive through Paton, Kat, Karon). Phuket’s governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy. And fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas. All are 5 star venues with a commensurate 5 star cost.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor



Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities

Caitlin Ashworth



Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities | The Thaiger

3 cities in Thailand recently joined UNESCO’s membership of so called “learning cities” which are said to promote “lifelong learning” and sustainable development. Chachoengsao, Chiang Mai and Phuket joined the UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities. Altogether, 55 cities from 27 countries, adding up to 230 cities in 64 countries around the world, according to UNESCO.

“These cities are outstanding examples of how lifelong learning can become a reality at local level. They have proven that effective lifelong learning policies and practices can support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and contribute to the 2030 Agenda.”

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning David Atchoarena says the recent new members have shown that they can make “lifelong learning a reality,” even after enduring the pandemic.

“With unprecedented urgency, the Covid-19-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity to build more resilient education systems for the future. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities must be at the centre of this undertaking.”

David says he hopes it will inspire other cities in Thailand to follow.

“I very much hope that we will see many other cities from Thailand joining the network and working on providing lifelong learning opportunities for all to ensure a sustainable and peaceful future.”

The mayor of Chachoengsao, Kolayuth Chaisang, says his goal is to provide “effective education, thoroughly and equally to all citizens.” According to the Bangkok Post, the city is a key urban centre both economically and culturally.

The mayor of Chiang Mai, Tussanai Buranupakorn, says he wants to revitalise the city, while also maintaining the cultural significance. The city has a number of educational institutes, which goes along with UNESCO’s learning city principles.

Phuket is a hub of sustainable creativity, according to the Bangkok Post. The mayor of Phuket, Somjai Suwansupana, says he wants to preserve the city’s “identity, local wisdom assets and the charm of our multiculturalism.”


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