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Special Tourist Visa flight postponed, National Security Council confirms

Caitlin Ashworth

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Special Tourist Visa flight postponed, National Security Council confirms | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Samui Times
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After much confusion about when the group of Chinese tourists will arrive in Phuket, the secretary general of Thailand’s National Security Council confirmed that today’s flight has been deferred to October 25.

Officials decided to postpone the flight and reschedule it after Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival is finished. The annual spectacle is known to draw large crowds. The council’s secretary general Natthapon Nakpanich says waiting until the festival is over to fly in the foreigners is in the interest of Thai tourists who might be wary about travelling to Phuket because of Covid-19 fears.

The details of when, or even if, Thailand was restarting tourism, drew a lot of interest from people eager to know more information about the new Special Tourist Visa. But the drama, miscommunication and flip-flopping about arrangements on the arrival of the first charter flight under the new visa, has caused a massive loss of confidence in Thailand’s ability to kick-start its vital tourism industry.

In the past 2 days, details about the number of tourists, the preparations, confirmed flights, precise arrangements, have all been floated by various government departments. The Phuket Governor, Thai Public Health Minister, Tourist Authority of Thailand Governor and Phuket Airport officials all made contradictory statements about the issue.

The group of 150 tourists travelling from Guangzhou, China would have been the first international tourists after a 6 month ban that was in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in April. Other groups from China and Scandinavian countries on the Special Tourist Visa are expected to arrive in the next month or so.

The new long stay visa scheme, which allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to 9 months, is aimed at bringing in international tourists to help boost the economy. Phuket especially has been battered by the lack of international tourists as many businesses on the island province heavily relied on the travellers for income.

SOURCE: Facebook: National News Bureau of Thailand

The first group of 150 tourists from Guangzhou of China scheduled to travel by chartered flight to Phuket International…

Posted by NNT- National News Bureau of Thailand on Thursday, 8 October 2020

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mike Froment

    October 8, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    But if these 150 people are in quarantine they wouldn’t be going to the veg festival more to this I think.

    • Avatar

      Prof. JPD

      October 8, 2020 at 4:25 pm

      You´re right Mike,…that´s what I thought, too.
      Though, there might be exceptions for “investors”?

      • Avatar

        Kris

        October 9, 2020 at 3:17 am

        These govt officials are jerks, absolute monkeys, what about returning Thai people, they are brining virus everyday and being quarantined and treated then go off frrely, why can’t same process apply to tourist, put them in quarantine then let go freely, why all fuss, oh dear

  2. Avatar

    Ayl

    October 8, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Hospitality level 99

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    October 8, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    I don’t think the Chinese tourists are coming….. First, they have just had their trip deferred by the Thai Government till October 25 (it has already been postponed once). Second they have to do the 14 day quarantine in an ASQ Hotel. Third, if they happen to want to go to the beach, certain beaches are being closed to them. Fourth, many of the businesses are closed and the nightlife is non existent. If 150 people want to call that a holiday……. They may as well stay home.

    • Avatar

      Robert

      October 8, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      The theory going around is that they are not tourists but wealthy Chinese investors.

  4. Avatar

    RR

    October 8, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Postponed? Probably it never existed in the first place.

  5. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    October 8, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    The existence of these so called tourists is doubtful. In any case, they are not standard tourists but – most likely – people with apartment/biz in Thailand! Chinese gov. does not allow its citizens to go abroad for ‘tourism’…

  6. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    October 8, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    555, If because of festival, why was smaller BKK group also canceled?

  7. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 8, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    I’m calling BS on this one. We were already told they would be coming next week instead of the 8th. If so, they would have been in quarantine for the entire festival. The issue about being allowed out for the beach or some type of exception isn’t part of the STV scheme. They were to be stuck in their rooms for the entire 14 days. Something else is going on. it’s probably nothing more than the typical Thai slow multiple layers of bureaucracy not ready to process the group. That said there is no doubt whatsoever now the entire high season will be lost. The powers to be said they wanted about a months worth of data and another 30 days to review it before deciding whether or not to adjust the quarantine period. Seeing how the first group isn’t showing up until almost November, and airlines and tourists needing time to plan high season is over. Maybe that was the plan all along?

    • Avatar

      patty

      October 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      Agreed Edward, its all a sham by the Junta. Its always talk, talk, talk, plan, plan, plan with these idiots but nothing ever comes to fruition. The whole thing is a mess. Things change at a drop of a dime and nothing is ever concrete. Typical Prayut. Probably easier and more fun going to North Korea at the moment

  8. Avatar

    Nipral

    October 8, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    The real problem is that the Chinese tourists bunch is a myth, and the STV a moronic scam
    for the purpose of milking foreigners. It miserably failed and this shameless government image is further damaged worldwide.It will be hard if possible at all to recover.
    More importantly people are starving !!!!

  9. Avatar

    Boycotthailand

    October 8, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    It’s a lie!those tourist does not exist! Who trust a racist, violent, corrupted, dictatorial, military regime?

    “Chinese media has questioned the identity of those tourists, however, with reports unable to confirm any Thailand travel bookings among agents in Guangzhou. Operators in Phuket are also puzzled.

    “We have not been notified about the arrivals,” Phuket Tourism Association president, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam told Reuters.

    “Phuket is ready, but we need clarity, where are they from, how many and where will they stay?” Bhummikitti said, adding that more information would help create confidence among the local community.

    Source “the guardian”

  10. Avatar

    Wijnschenk

    October 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Dear sir madam

    I was just thinking ..

    The world helped Thailand when it was struck by a tsunami!!
    The world helped Thailand when children were stuck in a cave!!

    NOW THAILAND CAN DO SOMETHING BACK!!!
    HELPING HUMANS STUCK IN OTHER COUNTRYS HELPING THEM RETURN TO THEIR LOVED ONES!!!
    so show some humanity to the world!!!??
    Greetings max Wijnschenk

    • Avatar

      Fred glue

      October 9, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Good lad, luv ya work

  11. Avatar

    Jilted John

    October 8, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    ‘…has caused a massive loss of confidence in Thailand’s ability to kick-start its vital tourism industry’

    Absolutely priceless!

  12. Avatar

    Old Farang in Canada

    October 8, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    I sent an email to the Thailand Long Stay Company asking if I could apply for an STV. No response after one week. Duh.

  13. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 8, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    I was reading todays South Morning China Post article about the Thai embassy offering the STV to Hong Kong and Macau residents. Got me to think about why they pushed back the arrival date for the Chinese. Maybe it’s not Thai bureaucracy at all, maybe there is no demand. There is no reason for these 150 or so Chinese businessmen to be traveling on a STV. They can already enter Thailand on a business exemption since they work for a Thai based Chinese owned company. It’s not hard to assume Thailand took that group and moved them to an STV. After all they are still getting in and still have all the same requirements. However for Thailand they are priming the STV pump with an already booked group. Isn’t it interesting we know exactly where the first group is coming from, but not the other 2-3 supposed already booked groups? Thailand won’t say where, just “China” and “Scandinavian countries”. You can’t start the STV program based on only 2-3 booked groups and hope others will fill the pipeline. People showing interest is a long way from actually booking a trip. The SCMP article quotes a HK official saying he expected few HK residents would travel on the visa because of the quarantine and high cost. He was quite explicate: “mandatory 14-day quarantine means the offer is unlikely to move the dial on travel” and “The barriers to travel are very high, as applicants for the visa have to fork out a considerable amount of money just to make the trip to Thailand,” It would explain why Thailand is already talking about changing the scheme. Oh and on a side note, in the article they talk about HK and Singapore will soon sign an agreement to travel without a quarantine. Also that HK has reached out to 11 other counties wanting to do the same. Can’t have a STV program if the pool you want to draw from is traveling to other countries without the need for a quarantine.

  14. Avatar

    Dirty Farang

    October 8, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Yeah, I will stop buying imported goods from Thailand, as I am scared to be infected by stupidity.

  15. Avatar

    Charles Wall

    October 9, 2020 at 12:44 am

    Unless Thais acquire herd immunity naturally or by vaccine, the discovery of which is not certain, they will be permanently cut off from the world. The same goes for NewZealand, how pathetic that country is, 23 deaths and the economy trashed. Pandemics all have the same pattern, a certain percentage of the population have to be exposed to it before it dissipates. Endless lockdowns/ quarantine are not natural and will prolong the crises eventually leading to increased deaths and economic disaster. Imagine if, in 1919 the world had acted in the same way as we are now ? the Spanish Flu would have dragged on into the mid 1920’s.
    It is hard to tell exactly how many Thais have had the virus or have died, so few have been tested, perhaps this is by design. I was staying in Jomtien mid mid-late Feb and one evening counted 12 huge Chinese coaches as many as 500 Chinese Virus spreaders in the area, visiting hotels,7/11’s Family Marts, massage shops, restaurants etc. They must have spread their disease to many of these establishments whose staff later went back to Isarn etc infecting people in the villages. Many old people may have died of “pneumonia” who knows.
    I would conservatively put the cases at 25,000 and death toll at 2,000 we will never know. Re. the Phuket farce, why delay,what’s the risk the visitors would have been in quarantine anyway and would be a risk to no one. Looking at the hotel there (B12,000 per night) where the owner is making “very little money” what tourist will spend that kind of money for “gourmet food” and no wine … what a joke and when they finally emerge skint from their luxury prison they will be confronted with a ghost town. Back on the plane again – More major hassle – to BKK Pattaya, Chiangmai etc. The only people going to Phuket will be Chinese property buyers … funny isn’t it farangs can’t buy anything ? yet the Chinese, who loathe the average Thai are the first ones to be welcomed.

    • Avatar

      Don R

      October 9, 2020 at 10:12 am

      I think you’re right. The world needs a Plan B because this lockdown/restriction regimen will end badly. It may already be too late.

      This Rona panic reeks of confirmation bias. The media said it was super dangerous, so Western govts went poking every cadaver and found out a lot of them “tested positive” for the virus. I’m guessing they’d find a lot of cadavers test positive for influenza too if they did the same amount of testing.

      Article published in BMJ today suggests that lockdowns and social distancing actually killed more people than herd immunity would have.

      Anyway, I’ve already given up on Asia. It won’t pleasant place to visit for many years. Time to look for greener pastures.

  16. Avatar

    TS

    October 9, 2020 at 9:07 am

    There were never any tourists or buisness travellers in the first place. At least not enough to pay for this stupid “phuket model” It was all based on hope and false beleif that thousands of tourists still want to come here. You so called organizers should put your energy and brilliant minds to work and bring back the resident stuck abroad expats with families and homes here. You’re very willing to only accept humanitarian help aren’t you? Shameful

    • Avatar

      Noneya Bidnizz

      October 13, 2020 at 1:44 am

      Shameful is an understatement !

      Perhaps , Just Maybe , They should come up with a PLAN instead of YET ANOTHER Mush-Brained“Scheme“

      Big Fat Brown Envelopes All `Round !!!!

      Better start with Pinocchio . — He Needs a New Face , He`s Lost His old one ! — The Poor Thing ! —

  17. Avatar

    KG

    October 9, 2020 at 9:59 am

    It’s all just a show. They don’t really want tourists to come in. Sent email to Thail Longstay company for STV application no reply after a week. GF calls them after a week. “Yes, we don’t have a list of countries from the government about which countries may arrive and which may not. We cannot process this information until we know what countries are on the list”. So basically the gov has not even approved which countries may come and which may not. Its all just for show, they don’t really want tourists back

  18. Avatar

    Nick

    October 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Cancelling the STV and / or not giving refunds is as mentioned earlier scam to say the least and crazy bureaucracy at it’s worst. The gov’t says, trips aren’t cancelled just delayed. Well what happens if the holidaymakers aren’t able to travel at that particular time?. They keep the money?
    What a farce, What a scam and now you’ve ( thai gov’t) have really lost face. To the extent nothing is to be believed anymore.
    iF Phuket’s tourist industry & commerce is on life support, well now because of their incompetency, it will go into a Coma !.
    FORGET IT!, WE’LL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  19. Avatar

    Tony T

    October 13, 2020 at 4:13 am

    Plenty of other countries will welcome ‘dirty farang’ with open arms and not try to scam airfair and accommodation bookings where payment is taken upfront with no intrusion of honouring visit or paying back Money. Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines will welcome westerners before the land of false scamming smiles

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thai Life

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight

Tim Newton

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Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | The Thaiger

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. But this year authorities are saying ‘only floating Krathongs thanks’. No polystyrene, no steel pins – keep it natural and plant-based please. This year Loy Krathong in Thailand co-incides with the annual Halloween celebrations on October 31.

Authorities are also urging people to choose, or make, their krathongs using natural materials only. The latest craze for “edible” krathongs is also causing problems. Read about that HERE.

Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar so the exact date of the festival changes every year.

In Phuket, the Provincial Office says fireworks, fire crackers and sky lanterns are prohibited “for people’s safety” (but be assured there will still be a few sky lanterns seen flying off the islands beaches this evening).

 

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

Loy Krathong is celebrated at many of the island’s popular waterways and at many of the beaches. Many hotels also host their own celebrations for their tourist customers. Here are a few of the locations you will be able to launch your own Krathong or buy one on site and watch families and couples launching Krathongs.

Popular locations in Phuket include…

• Saphan Hin Park Lake, Phuket Town

• Suan Luang Park (off Naka Market Road)

• Bang Wad Dam, Kathu

• The recreation lake near Ket Ho Temple in Kathu (The Thaiger ‘local’)

• Tin Mine Museum Lake on the Kathu back road, near BIS International School

• Nai Harn Lake and Nai Harn Beach

• Bang Maruam near the Alan Cooke Cricket Ground in Thalang

• Laguna (the main lake just inside the entrance)

• Just about anywhere along Patong Beach

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.

We would urge people to consider the environment if you’re making your own Krathong or try and select Krathongs that are made from natural products. Many of the ‘commercial’ Krathongs use polystyrene and pins that end up scattered along our waterways and provide a hazard on the island’s beaches when the Krathongs eventually wash ashore and disintegrate.

Same goes for the new fad of bread and “edible” krathongs. Officials say these can be dangerous for the fish and cause long term problems for water catchments.

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

If you’d like to make a krathong, here’s a very quick guide…

If you want the easy way out, you will find hundreds of stalls on the way or near any waterway around the island that is participating in the event. Try and pick ones that appear to be made from natural materials.

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket!

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Phuket

Phuket tops travel destination list of cheapest hotel prices – Dertour 2020 Price Index

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket tops travel destination list of cheapest hotel prices – Dertour 2020 Price Index | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Hotels Association

Phuket tops a list of the cheapest travel destinations with a 1 night stay at a hotel costing on average less than $30 USD, according to a study by the German travel company Dertour. Phuket is going through what some say is a “crisis”, certainly a current tourist vacuum. The island province largely relies on income from foreign tourists, but with travel bans over the last 7 months, hotels and other businesses in the tourism industry have been at a loss.

For domestic tourists, Phuket currently offers a serene, peaceful tropical stay where you’ll have a lot of the island to yourself. There are plenty of daily flights to the island, but all from domestic locations at this stage – the international terminal remains closed.

Along with being listed as hotels with the lowest price, Phuket also made the top 5 cities with the largest price drop from 2019 to 2020, according to Dertour’s 2020 Accommodation Price Index. The company studied hotel prices for 75 popular tourist destinations around the world. Bangkok was just above Phuket at the fourth city with the largest hotel price drop. Bangkok hotel prices dropped by 34.6% while Phuket’s hotel prices dropped by 33.8%.

Prices will continue to be low, CEO DER Touristik Central Europe Ingo Burmester says…

“Travel itself will be cheap in 2021… Although it has been a challenging period, we have seen a great deal of interest in domestic travel. We also predict a major catch-up effect for Mediterranean destinations, European trips and long-haul routes in 2021 as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.”

Phuket ranks as the destination with the cheapest accommodation prices at an average price of $29 USD, according to the list. Average prices for 3-star hotels are $26 USD and an average of $54 USD for 5-star hotels.

Bangkok followed, ranking fifth on the list of cities with the lowest hotel price at an average of $43 USD per night. 3-star hotels in Bangkok average at $30 per night and 5-star hotels average at $93 USD.

Top 5 destinations with the lowest price in accommodation

  1. Phuket: Average of $29 USD per night
  2. Delhi: Average of $34 USD per night
  3. Kuala Lumpur: Average of $36 USD per night
  4. Bali: Average of $36 USD per night
  5. Bangkok: Average of $43 USD per night

Top 5 destinations with the largest price drop in accommodation

  1. Amsterdam: Dropped by 51.6%
  2. San Francisco: Dropped by 39.2%
  3. Vancouver: Dropped by 37.1%
  4. Bangkok: Dropped by 34.6%
  5. Phuket: Dropped by 33.8%

To read Dertour’s full report, click HERE.

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

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Phuket

Man arrested after allegedly slicing a man’s face with sickle

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested after allegedly slicing a man’s face with sickle | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

A man was arrested on charges of grievous bodily harm after he allegedly sliced his friend’s face with a sickle, causing a gash about 25 centimetres long.

3 men, identified as Saeng, Ta and Rop, had been drinking at a shanty in Phuket’s Rassada district where Rop lived. An argument broke out over money. A bank transfer was apparently made, but no one received any money, according to Rop as he related the story to police.

The men didn’t come to an agreement and ended up going to bed. Ta stayed awake and slapped Saeng twice while he was falling asleep, Rop says. Saeng then got up, grabbed the sickle and swung the hooked blade across Ta’s cheek, Rop says.

Reports don’t go into detail about Ta’s condition, but photos of the scene by the Phuket News show a significant amount of blood on the concrete floor.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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