Thai municipal organisation defends 1.7 million baht educational yacht trip amid backlash

Picture courtesy of tourthai news Facebook

In the face of criticism regarding the alleged overspending on a yacht for an educational trip to Phuket, the Sakon Nakhon Municipal Organization (SNMO) has come forward to defend its actions.

The organization maintains that transparency and the project’s value are at the forefront of its efforts. The controversy spiralled from a Facebook page, ‘ปฏิบัติการหมาเฝ้าบ้าน,’ which highlighted the cost – over 1.7 million baht (US$47,837) of the educational trip.

Chuphong Kamjuang, head of SNMO, today clarified and justified the expenditure. He stated that the trip was for a legitimate study purpose concerning tourism and Smart City. The project was presented by Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, involving 60 staff members from the organisation.

Chuphong continued by saying that the criticism on social media about registration fees of 28,000 baht (US$788) per person was majorly for travel expenses. The SNMO is located far from the province, thus it became necessary to travel by plane from Sakon Nakhon to Don Mueang International Airport, and then to Nakhon Si Thammarat, before continuing their journey by bus, reported KhaoSod.

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Addressing the criticism of using a yacht for the educational visit, Chuphong clarified that it was an ordinary trip to a tourist spot, customary for Phuket. The trip required a passenger yacht, not a luxury yacht exclusively used by the wealthy, costing a modest 9,000 baht (US$253) per day.

As for the issue of shopping for durian and praying at the temple, Chuphong said that the durian was arranged by the Phang Nga Municipality for tasting and promoting their local produce, and there was no actual purchase made. As for visiting temples, it’s a common practice whenever one visits a province to pay homage to sacred objects. This was done outside the itinerary.

Chuphong concluded by speculating that the images spread on social media could be a political controversy within the SNMO as some members did not attend the trip. He extended his gratitude for inadvertently making SNMO well-known.

His final assurance was that the project was transparently conducted and welcomed any party to inspect. He firmly reiterated that the project was worthwhile for the budget expenditure.

Phuket NewsThailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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