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Special Tourist Visa flight to Phuket delayed, tourists to arrive after the Vegetarian Festival

Caitlin Ashworth

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Special Tourist Visa flight to Phuket delayed, tourists to arrive after the Vegetarian Festival | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ปชส. จังหวัดภูเก็ต

The country’s first tourists to arrive since April’s border closures are not arriving tomorrow as originally expected. Phuket ‘s governor now says they’ll be arriving after the island’s annual Vegetarian Festival which runs from October 17 to 25. He hasn’t clarified when he requested the delay for foreign tourists to start coming back to Phuket, and he hasn’t confirm exactly when the first tourists are expected, except that it will be after October 25.

The first group of foreigners to arrive on the new Special Tourist Visa were set to fly in from China on a chartered AirAsia flight and arrive at the Phuket International Airport tomorrow. In a video posted on the local government’s Facebook page, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said the decision to delay the flight was due to locals’ fears that the tourists could cause a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“I have already requested that foreigners arrive after the Vegetarian Festival ends… The decision was made to make people feel more comfortable (with tourists arriving.)”

Many have also been critical of the governor’s decision to allow the the Vegetarian Festival to take place this month. The festival, more known for the acts of self-mutilation than its vegetarian food, will need to follow “new normal” protocols. The “mah songs,” who channel spirits during the event and often practice self-mutilation, will travel in vehicles during the street possessions and crowd control will be enforced. Some of the main ceremonies, as well as acts like fire walking, are banned.

“Many Thais from other provinces will come to the festival, and there were concerns that foreigners coming to watch the festival may bring the virus to Phuket … I thank the Phuket shrines for their efforts to comply with the health protection measures needed. The decision whether or not to hold the festival was reconsidered again and again. It took a long time to think about (whether or not to hold) the Vegetarian Festival this year, but it will go ahead because it is a part of Phuket’s traditions.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    OneoftheAliens

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I Love Thailand more and more

  2. Avatar

    Dirty Farang

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    “to delay the flight was due to locals’ fears that the tourists could cause a second wave of Covid-19 infections”

    yeah, tourists prepare to go to airport TOMORROW and now it’s postponed in last second because of some fears – shut down the whole country and stay closed forever, but stop wining because ran out of cash ???

  3. Avatar

    barry

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Chartered flight on…. Air Asia?

    Wait a minute, I thought these STV tourists were supposed to be millionaires – And they’re flown in on a low-cost airline?

    Air Asia’s idea of first class is a red label on headrest! Woah….

  4. Avatar

    Marvin

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    The flight is delayed.

    So now the Chinese have to get retested 3 days before to see if they fit to fly.

    Ridiculous

  5. Avatar

    Laocowboy 2

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    They are not – and were never – ‘tourists’. It is a flight bringing Chinese investors, presumably to pick up distressed assets such as hotels that cannot pay their bank loans etc.

    • Avatar

      barry

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      They’re flying Air Asia though… So much for business class

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      The Thaiger & The Nation

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Please provide some evidence of your claim.

  6. Avatar

    Robert Bunker

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    I think TAT / Thai government are grasping at straws with this latest change of story. I think they might even have been taking advice from the master,Boris Johnson, about how to spin bullshit and lies from one day to the next.

  7. Avatar

    Thomas

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I start to admire the unlimited supply of bullshit excuses and stories of why nobody can enter Thailand. How can they look in the mirror without laughing. But keep it going, the longer they stay closed the cheaper businesses and condos will become. Thank you

    • Avatar

      Dirty Farang

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      yeah, let’s dry them out until the bones. then buy 200sqm condo in thong lor for 15k euros

  8. Avatar

    TheObserver

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Again, entering a car or riding a bike in Thailand is so much more dangerous than being exposed to infected poeple. The fear of the virus is irreal in Thailand.

  9. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 10:14 am

    I read that they were desperate for foreign tourists, but now they have some who are willing to go through all the expensive procedures to arrive, they refuse them entry until a later date.
    They are not very bright are they?

  10. Avatar

    Vance

    Friday, October 9, 2020 at 5:31 am

    Can go to Barbados they offer a one year visa for you to experience Barbados

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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.

Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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