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Government to consider rescue packages for tourism businesses in South

Maya Taylor

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Government to consider rescue packages for tourism businesses in South | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket 101
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The government will hold a mobile Cabinet meeting in Phuket today to consider potential rescue packages for tourism-related businesses that have been ravaged by the closure of international borders. The proposals, which include soft loans for airlines and other businesses, come after PM Prayut Chan-o-cha met with Phuket business representatives and local officials yesterday.

The Bangkok Post reports that the PM has vowed to speed up the recovery of the tourism sector in the south of the country, with particular emphasis on Phuket and Koh Samui. The pledge comes after Phuket business leaders and officials urged him to consider various measures to get the island’s economy going again.

The Finance Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, says the government will offer airlines the option of low-interest soft loans in return for limiting fare increases, in order to encourage more domestic bookings. In August, airline bosses asked the government to approve a 24-billion-baht budget to make soft loans available to struggling businesses, but got no response back then.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister, Suchart Chomklin, has pledged to boost employment in the provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Satun, Trang and Ranong, through a 1.5 billion baht budget that will fund jobs for the unemployed for a period of 10 months. It’s understood the funds will come from a 400-billion-baht budget to boost economic recovery in the provinces on the Andaman coast. Of that, Phuket will get 500 million baht to hire 8,000 workers, with the other provinces allocated 200 million baht each to hire between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

Phuket businesses are also calling for an extension to the domestic travel stimulus scheme until the end of the year. Local officials are also asking the government to promote the province as a place to hold conferences and meetings, as well as increasing the number of weekend flights from Bangkok.

In addition to immediate measures to kick-start the economy, Phuket is focused on a number of other projects, including the development of a multi-billion-baht medical hub and creating incentives that will attract more companies to the province.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    November 3, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Once again, the third-largest city in the country, Hat Yai, is left out.

    The city has many businesses that depend on tourism from Malaysia and with the borders closed, there are businesses that are struggling and folding.

    But Hat Yai never gets considered for any “help” packages. It’s truly frustrating. Even this website talks about “the South” of Thailand, but only talks about Phuket, Samui, Surit Thani and the like.

    We are The South, and we need as much help as the struggling businesses in those places.

    • Avatar

      Johnny Rambo

      November 3, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      They ignore Hat Yai because it has a large Muslim population. Thais are deeply racist and simply dont care about their Muslim citizens. Thats why there are many Muslim rebels in Thailand who fight for their freedom to get rid of this brutal oppression.

    • Avatar

      Ryan Lih

      November 3, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      I feel for your bro. Currently, Malaysia’s covid-19 cases are in the 2nd wave and cases hit 3 to 4 digits/day. At this rate, I don’t think Songklah governor will allow Malaysians to come in post 1Q21. Hatyai & Dannok seriously need Malaysian tourists as everything across the board has suffered. It is very unfortunate. Dannok, Betong, Padang Besar, and Sg Golok have been greatly affected by Malaysian gov’t closing borders till year end but at the current rate, could drag even longer.

  2. Avatar

    Jonathan Hugo

    November 3, 2020 at 10:24 am

    400 billion budget, and 1.5 billion for unemployment for 10 months. 0.5 billion for 800 jobs in Phuket – average of 6250 per job per month. Better than minimum wage, but not exactly high quality jobs. Hopefully the workers will start the necessary clean-up of the whole island, further the road maintenance programme, and contribute to building the necessary infrastructure – proper waste and water management facilities. Over 1 billion cubic meters of rain falls on Phuket annually – why is there a shortage when consumption is less than 0.1 billion cubes? And perhaps some hotels should be converted to medical/care facilities, rather than starting afresh at Mai Khao?

  3. Avatar

    EdwardV

    November 3, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Nice start but is underwhelming to say the least. Soft loans are good for big businesses but only if their businesses model resumes in the near future. Otherwise it’s just more debt they can’t pay. Job creation always helps. Still needed was grants to small businesses with part of the money tied to job retention. Even so, what is really needed above all else is resuming business activity. You need tourists for that and since that’s not going to happen every thing else is just a bandaid on a gaping wound.

  4. Avatar

    Johnny Rambo

    November 3, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Bla bla bla … If you wanna save your economy just open the borders you Thai morons. Stop coming up with dumb ideas that will never function anyway.

    • Avatar

      Lily

      November 4, 2020 at 6:34 am

      Thai people can fly without Covid restrictions to Europe, but people from Europe are not welcome or need a expensive and long quarantaine, because we are high risk countries. Because….we do massive testing and we have a lot of elderly people in nursing homes. Most tourist are younger then 65 years old. Most people who have died from covid-19 in Europa are older then 70-80 years old. Since there is no massive testing in Thailand, who can really tell how the situation is?

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 3, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    The Thai tourist ship is going down and if there is no a rescue soon, the ship will be sunk.

  6. Avatar

    DK

    November 3, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    What about tourism package for the north e.g Chiang Mai? There was a significant no. of Chinese tourists last year? One of the local 5 star hotels has 10 percent or less occupancy on week days and perhaps twice that during week-ends by local Thai people.

  7. Avatar

    Edward Gibson

    November 4, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    They can come up with all the dull stupid idea tourist are not interested coming to thailand until at dull goverment understand how foriegnors think and not being told what they got to do and until all the stupid requirements and rules change u will suffer everyday it’s something new if it not about visa its about giving u a free visa if u buy a 10 million condo and then how well they are doing with domestic tourist and they had 1 million tourist and the money was 1 billion baht for at holiday weekend thailand understand people are totally piss off with u with all your bull shit your requirements
    and rules and your lies I am sick of hearing about and reading about thailand why dont u just give it a rest and wake (Tourist are not interested dont u understand people have shown u at. At why nobody are taking u up on the visa and the requirements

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Business

FazWaz accelerates growth in SE Asia property market with latest funding round

The Thaiger

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FazWaz accelerates growth in SE Asia property market with latest funding round | The Thaiger

FazWaz, a leading real estate transaction marketplace headquartered in Bangkok, has raised a new round of funding to accelerate growth into 2021. Serial investor and Online Marketplaces Chairman Simon Baker via CAV Investment Group says he’s been closely following FazWaz for the last 3 years since they first attended our Property Portal Watch Conferences in 2017.

“I believe that their mission to use technology to streamline the end-to-end real estate transaction process is the future for real estate sales. Brennan Campbell and his team are very well positioned to be a global leader in real estate e-transactions.”

The latest round of funding will be used to invest further into the marketing, data and technology to ultimately drive FazWaz brand awareness and grow its market share. FazWaz had gone against the traditional startup route and remained 100% bootstrapped for its first 4 years of business while showing 100% growth year on year.

Also participating in the funding round for FazWaz were 500Tuk Tuks, Aries Capital (Indonesian family fund), and Alpha Founders Capital.

Having been launched just under 5 years ago by expat entrepreneurs Paul Trayman, Brennan Campbell and Michael Kenner, the brand has expanded across south east Asia with the latest country launch being Cambodia in November. The portal is looking to digitise property transactions in the country and can count some 500,000 visitors per month to its main Thai site having overtaken some big names to rank in the top 3 property portal sites in the country.

Brennan Campbell, Founder & CEO of FazWaz, says that we now live in an on-demand, digital-first society where users want efficient access to products and services at the click of a button.

“The real estate industry is no different and users are demanding a better online search and offline service experience. As a mission-driven business, the funding and expertise brought on in this round of investment moves us closer to our goal of empowering consumers to make more efficient and informed real estate decisions.”

FazWaz is one of an increasing number of property marketplaces with an end-to-end model that seeks to bring transactions online with users able to make an offer directly on the platform.

Johannes von Rohr, General Partner at Alpha Founders Capital says that Thailand’s proptech (property technology) scene is seeing an exciting amount of activity with two well-known major M&A deals in 2020, one being for Kaidee.com and another being Hipflat.com.

“At the same time, a large amount of investment pours into startups tackling the fragmented real estate market. FazWaz re-envision the real estate sales process with technology. We are excited to back FazWaz as they now enter into the next significant phase of growth.”

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Tourism

What has the pandemic taught hotels about luxury. Is ‘less’ more?

The Thaiger

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What has the pandemic taught hotels about luxury. Is ‘less’ more? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Naka Island - The Luxury Travel Expert

by Anthony Lark

“Let’s say goodbye to all that stale pretence and manufactured pomp”

Until the collective nightmare that was 2020, many of the so-called high-end hotels had a reputation for trying to convince guests to pay for often dingy guestrooms lacking any real views inside an otherwise ornate structure with a storied, celebrated past, where the first impression was a check in often akin to applying for a bank loan. Defined as “luxury”, in the good old days they got away with it.

Over the thirty years I spent running Amanpuri and Trisara on Phuket, I heard hundreds of people complain of feeling ripped off at “legendary” and “iconic” hotels by staff that rudely treated them as anything but guests.

How many of us did not tip the head waiter after dinner on the first night, to return the next evening and find ourselves stashed at a table by the kitchen door, or getting ushered past the prime and utterly empty deck chairs (with a book on them) by an indifferent pool boy rushing to count his bounty at the pool bar.

As we in the hotel business look towards vaccine jabs while collectively praying for people to start travelling again, let’s say goodbye to all that stale pretence and manufactured pomp. Emerging from the darkness that was 2020, we hoteliers need to consider that life will not bounce back to all that, nor should it. Good riddance to the seller’s market when hotels could charge like the light brigade for sub-par accommodations and indifferent service while expecting our guests will automatically keep coming back for more.

Merriam-Webster ‘luxury’ definition #1: a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort.

“There will always be people willing to pay,” said the late, great Natale Rusconi of the Cipriani in Venice and Splendido in Portofino.The size of the room didn’t matter, he observed, nor did the price of a cup of coffee, as long as they felt cocooned in an ‘exclusive’ world with an established reputation of being the “best.”

A classic negroni or a plate of risotto on the terrace at Cipriani is luxurious, not so much because of the ingredients of the food and beverage (although it is the best), but because it’s a rare experience.

Sonu Shivdasani, owner of Soneva resorts, hits it on the head when describing luxury.

He points out “Our external communication focuses much more on our brand proposition of “Inspiring a Lifetime of Rare Experiences”.

For example, we touch upon the point of our guests being able to walk barefoot for a week. This is rare and hence a luxury.

Change is in the luxe-wind

There is definitely change in the post-covid wind. In virtual conversations with many wealthy, well-travelled former guests of mine living in the northern hemisphere, they are explicit about what they yearn for on the other side of their drawn-out lockdowns.

These people are the ones who every year asked me for the largest villa with the bluest views and the most kitted out yacht for a day on the Andaman Sea and now I sense they seek something distinctly less material. While I am not surprised to hear them in their Bel Air mansions and apartments overlooking the River Seine asking for deals, what they say next piques my interest. “Anthony, I don’t need the presidential suite when we come back,” they say without a whiff of disappointment to downgrade. They are increasingly asking not for the specs on yachts but for news of wellness offerings and rare, secret local experiences.

One company already excelling in this beyond luxury space is Six Senses, purchased in 2019 by the behemoth InterContinental Hotels brand but left to run relatively independently under CEO Neil Jacobs. In interviews and on panels throughout the pandemic, Jacobs has spoken often of his personal aversion to the very word ‘luxury’ as well as to ‘exclusivity,’ which he sees in direct opposition to Six Senses’ holistic ethos.

Community engagement, he argues, is not only an aspect of the brand’s sustainability guidelines but also critical to “the intrinsic value of the content around what is being offered” at each individual property.

Like Jacobs, I noticed even before Covid that bragging rights back home no longer focus solely on price-tagged acquisitions. Those same guests who regaled me during lockdown with tales from their past travels, talked about meaningful encounters with Bhutanese textile weavers, Portuguese sourdough bakers, Colombian coffee farmers or Thai fishermen with whom they shared meaningful encounters on immersive, often unexpectedly transformative journeys. Perhaps we all learned in lockdown that these memories endure far longer than we can linger on even the most decadent bed linens or the hotel’s fluffy-as-a-cloud bathrobes.

Even before any of us had given a thought to wet markets in Wuhan, our industry was abuzz with these ‘experiential’ and ‘transformational’ travel offerings, and we see smaller, more nimble independent hotels and resorts luring guests away from staid grand dames of the past, while commanding higher rates.

I suspect we will now enter a new era, best described by Morris Sim, one of the smartest marketing minds I know.Travellers he predicts, will be embracing the idea that “ luxury is the outcome of an experience, not a product.”

Merriam-Webster luxury definition #2: something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.

To be clear, this is not a rallying cry to spend amidst an economic crisis. Luxurious experiences may be as humble as a thoughtful gesture or act of kindness by a staff member. It’s surprising our guests on their return to the hotel room to find their laundry cleaned, folded and tied with a beautiful bow, or that feeling of being cared for to discover one’s toothpaste, sunscreen and deodorant arranged like tiny soldiers on the bathroom vanity.

Going forward, those hotels that also help guests to make meaningful, immersive connections with the surrounding culture and environment while also delivering unpretentious, anticipatory service with thoughtful human touches will redefine luxury.

Merriam-Webster luxury definition #2b: an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease

Throughout the heady 1990s, we opened a new Amanresort every year or so. While now considered places of beauty that were undeniably desirable, they were initially revolutionary upstarts compared with the most famous resorts of the 70’s and 80’s where gold sink taps stood out against bathrooms laden with Carrera marble.

Into this arena where remote controlled toilets that blew air on your arse were regarded as luxurious, Adrian Zecha’s vision for each Aman was unashamedly simple in design and utterly lacking in superfluous finishing’s. The late architect Ed Tuttle, who mastered this design of understatement used to tell his team (including his lead designer Pin Tan, who now holds that title at Six Senses) and clients that “it’s not about embellishment, it’s about owning the space.”By this he meant that humans are most at ease in spaces that function well when for them rather than for shelter magazines and marketing brochures.

As we look towards leaving hibernation behind, I strongly believe our guests will gravitate to uncluttered places where simplicity reigns, where they can look better and feel better about their emergent selves and where they can enjoy consequential encounters with fascinating strangers, after feeling cut off for so long.

At Trisara Phuket, the team here serves local residents and Bangkokians down for the weekend gourmet Thai-inspired lunches prepared by chefs under a Thai carved sala roof overlooking a charming lake at the resort’s nearby working farm, engaging with locals tending the farm while keeping comfortably cool and exquisitely sated.

My personal view is that successful hotels must throw off any remaining shackles of our industry’s past definitions of ‘luxury’ and pivot towards delivering authentically local guest experiences and anticipative service that surprises and delights.

Are we headed towards a new paradigm where our job is to nurture the “outcome of the experience” rather than the showmanship of counting threads of Egyptian cotton and embroidering initials on pillowslips?

What has the pandemic taught hotels about luxury. Is 'less' more? | News by The Thaiger

Anthony Lark is the founding and current president of The Phuket Hotels Association. He also runs his own luxury hospitality company focused on resort and residential villa design & master plan concepts, plus management auditing of existing properties as hotels prepare for a post-covid world.

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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