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Cambodian tour guides cry foul over new tour guide audio Apps

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Cambodian tour guides cry foul over new tour guide audio Apps | The Thaiger

Digital technology is disrupting many older technologies – travel bookings, buying real estate, booking flights, media, dating – and now tour guides are getting the digital make-over with new Apps taking their jobs. Tour guides at Cambodia’s historical sites are voicing concern over a new audio tour App they say is threatening their careers.

Developed by local company Angkor Audio, the App provides spoken tours in 14 languages.

Hem Sophoan, who has worked as a guide since becoming licensed in 2008, told The Phnom Penh Post that the App is hurting the industry and affecting the livelihood of trained guides.

“The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism should encourage tour guide skills because it always provides training courses, so what do those guides do now?,” he asked.

Sophoan says Cambodia has approximately 10,000 working tour guides and if the App finds a large enough audience, it will directly affect their incomes.

The audio tour program is set to launch next year and will cost users $2.99 for the first month of use. Currently, the company is testing it with 30,000 users.

A Spanish-language tour guide in Siem Reap, Kes Theng, said he strongly opposed the new App.

“As a tour guide, I strongly oppose any company that plans to run a tour guide App for Cambodia’s historic sites,” he said, adding that it would lead to poverty.

“Do you want to see the thousands of people working as tour guides become unemployed?” he asked.

The Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, could not be reached for comment as of press time, while the ministry’s spokesman did not answer a phone call.

The Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Hor Vandy said the App would strengthen the Kingdom’s tourism sector, despite pushing some guides out of business.

“I believe the ministry will consider how best to coordinate with the tour guides,” he said.

Vandy said audio tours are already being used at historical sites in Phnom Penh, and a few in Siem Reap.

Data from the ministry showed that in the first five months of this year, Cambodia received 2.6 million foreign tourists – up 13.5 per cent compared to last year.

The Kingdom is expected to receive 6.2 million tourists this year and seven million a year by 2020.

Cambodian tour guides cry foul over new tour guide audio Apps | News by The Thaiger

STORY: Phnom Penh Post



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Southeast Asia

Australian officials urge Thai authorities to release Hakeem AlAraibi

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Australian officials urge Thai authorities to release Hakeem AlAraibi | The Thaiger

“FIFA, world soccer’s ruling body, is also calling on the Thai authorities to allow for the return of AlAraibi to Australia at “the earliest possible moment”.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne is urging Thai authorities to release a footballer who holds a refugee status in Australia and who has been detained in Bangkok for nearly two weeks.

Hakeem AlAraibi, a former member of Bahrain’s national soccer team who has been critical of the country’s government, was arrested in Thailand on November 27 based on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain’s request.

AlAraibi was convicted of vandalising a police station in Bahrain and sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia. He has denied any wrongdoing.

“Australia is concerned by the ongoing detention of Mr. Hakeem Ali AlAraibi and calls for his immediate return to Australia,” Payne said in a statement published on the ministry’s website.

“Returning Mr. AlAraibi to Bahrain, from where he fled, would contravene his rights under international human rights law.”

At a court hearing on Friday, AlAraibi was served with a formal arrest warrant, which could pave the way for a possible extradition to Bahrain.

Read more from Channel News Asia HERE.

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Southeast Asia

New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award

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New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award | The Thaiger

The first new Thai 1,000 baht banknotes, featuring the image of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, has won The Best New Banknote Award at the High Security Printing Asia 2018 international conference held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The banknote was awarded for its unique printing technology using the optically variable magnetic ink (OVMI), the first of its kind for Thai banknotes which creates three-dimensional moving patterns and switching colours when observing from different angles.

It was named the Best New Banknote at the three-day High Security Printing Asia 2018 forum in Hanoi that ended on Wednesday, according to the Bank of Thailand’s announcement on Friday.

New Thai 1,000 baht note wins international award | News by The Thaiger

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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world

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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world | The Thaiger

by By DataLEADS

In the wake of the confirmation from the Thai Government about a firm date for the next election, a survey has been released which measures the Asian democracies. Thais go to the polls to elect a new government on February 2019, the first time since they elected Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party in 2011.

The report says that Asia has made strong headway in advancing democracy but still has a long way to go in some countries, compared to other more established democracies in the world.

The Economic Intelligence Unit’s report on Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and politicalculture. Countries are then ranked on a scale of 1-10 and classifies them as ‘full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’ and ‘authoritarian regime’.

Many Asian countries figure in the list of 166 countries, yet none, according to the report, has reached ‘full democracy’.

In Asia South Korea figures at the top. The country is ranked 20th, a jump from 24th position in 2016.  The improvement in score is attributed to a popular movement which led to the impeachment of the then president, Park Geun-hye, who was found guilty of embezzlement.

Japan ranks second in Asia but 23 globally. India is ranked third in Asia and 42 globally. The country saw a steep dip in its ranking from 32nd to 42nd place. The decline in the ranking is owed to the rising right wing force and attack on minorities and dissenting voices.

Philippines is ranks fourth in Asia and 51 globally. According to the report the declaration of martial law in the southern part of the country and Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous infringement of the democratic values has adversely affects the country’s democratic culture. Malaysia is ranked fifth in Asia and 59 globally followed by Mongolia and Sri Lanka globally ranked 60 and 62 respectively.

Indonesia has fallen from 48th position to 68thposition mostly due to stringent blasphemy laws that have been used to curb the freedom of expression regularly.  It is followed by Singapore which is ranked 69 globally but still operates more as a family-run business than a government. Nepal and Bhutan are ranked 94 and 99 respectively. Thailand is ranked 107 globally

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan and media censorship has created hindrances in the functioning of democracy. The country is ranked 110 followed by Myanmar and Cambodia.

Censorship of social media in China and the consolidation of power by Chinese leader has resulted in a stifling regime in the country. Journalists are constinously locked up and freedom of speech is not granted. According to the report the country is classified as authoritarian followed by Vietnam and Laos ranked 140 and 151 respectively.

Asia's struggle with democracy - Thailand ranks #107 in the world | News by The Thaiger

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