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Lock and load for dive high season – Phuket Diving

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Lock and load for dive high season – Phuket Diving | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Lock on your tanks and load that gear on the boat because the Phuket diving high season is officially here. This year’s season was ushered in with the annual ruckus parties and dive show equipment suppliers, all brought to the industry pros of the entire Andaman region by Dive Supply and Aqua Master.

Free flow drinks and all-you-can-eat grub enthusiastically marked an upcoming season of bounty.

The members of the dive business that weathered the patchy low season and the economic troubles it can bring to both established and new companies took full advantage of the hospitality by both Dive Supply and Aqua Master.

The revelry got kicked off with a twist this year as Carl Webb, the marketing manager for Dive Supply, splashed out for a massive American Western themed hoedown complete with complimentary cowboy hats, catering by Sala Mexicana and a mechanical rodeo bull.

However, everything wasn’t all sun and dust, as representatives from Suunto, Scubapro, Bauer Compressors and Intova were all present to walk attendees through the new equipment developments – making sure new features and add-ons could be explained to the rest of us in the diving world when we start poking around our local dive shop.

From Intova, Joe Ganahl was present, walking dive company owners through the advantages of using the new Sport 10k for the rental market. Intova, hot on the heels of GoPro in the extreme sports camera world, brought the Sport 10k with an underwater housing set for recreational limits (40 meters) to the dive industry as an affordable solution for rental cameras, which often suffer the hardships of any rental gear.

Also at the event, Suunto and Scubapro launched three deals.

Suunto is now throwing in a free transmitter with purchases of a variety of different types of air integrated computers, while Scubapro is handing out a free octopus (not the animal) with their MK25/S600 regulator and also running a “full set” special.

“This is the only opportunity we have to gather the dive community in big numbers. It was a successful show, we were able to bring everyone together to talk a little business and have a lot of fun,” Mr Webb said.

Earlier that day at Aqua Master Brendon and Liz Singer had given a lecture on a new six-month campaign for tracking the decreasing number of shark sightings in Thailand (click here for article). By this time, as the sun was starting to fade, the optimism over new prospects, new challenges and new gear seemed to pervade the party.

However, despite the time and crowd, it was possible to still see the Aqua Master’s new equipment setup for the female Phuket day-trip diver.

“After thorough research and testing, we recognized a gap in the marketplace for dive gear that specifically meets women’s scuba diving needs,” said Michael Wehrle, Southeast Asia regional manager for Aqua Lung International. “We tapped into the insight of our international team of female divers, water enthusiasts and active individuals who are driven by their passion for the sport of diving.”

Though improperly gendered to give honest feedback on the equipment, it is clear that Aqua Master has looked over all the details to ensure that even the little irritating issues, such as long hair getting awkwardly caught up in your head band, won’t even wreck a moment of the dive.

With a stretch of sunny days, equipment deals and having spent the “green season” flicking through dive magazines and heart-wrenchingly beautiful photos of the world beneath the waves, everyone – pros, expats and tourists – can happily head back to calmer waters and take the plunge.

News brief: Sea Bees wins national award for excellence

The recent Thailand Tourism Awards 2013 honored a dive company among the seven businesses and projects for ” Awards for Outstanding Performance”.

Sea Bees Diving, one of the most well-known and established dive companies in Phuket, found itself among an eclectic field of winners ranging from historical renovation projects to resorts.

“It is a great honor to receive this award, but also very positive to see how much the Committee Members focused on the environment during their visit and assessment of our operations,” Holger Schwab, the owner and Managing Director, said.

“To receive recognition for how our fleet operates, that small dive groups are beneficial to the reefs and marine life and that the environment does not have to be compromised when it comes to service is something we have aimed for constantly over the years,” Mr Schwab said.

Keep checking our Phuket Lifestyle pages for the latest features from across the island. Join our Facebook fan page or follow us at @PhuketGazette.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Property

Guaranteed rental returns – Are they real?

The Thaiger

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Guaranteed rental returns – Are they real? | The Thaiger

If you’re looking to invest in overseas property, search the market and it’s not unusual to find condos for sale with guaranteed rental returns of 40%, and some even higher. Yes, it DOES seems too good to be true, but the offers are out there and the packages often come with free legal fees and other such benefits. Clearly, before diving in, you need to seek some expert and professional advice.

So, what is the debate about? And what questions should you ask prior to investing?

Guaranteed rental returns are obviously enticing for investors and purchasers alike, with standard net returns usually being advertised below the 10% mark.

In the opinion of many, this is not a cheap marketing trick. Yes, it does have ‘marketing power’ and it might just be the additional financial package that helps developers and agents clinch the deal. But for the investors, they genuinely are guaranteed a minimum return on their investment. Surely that’s positive. It eases the concerns of investors and keeps the market buoyant. And why wouldn’t buyers prefer to go with the property that guarantees this return, over the property that does not?

Other experts are not so sure. While acknowledging that a rental guarantee clearly offers agents and developers an advantage in marketing and selling, there are voices within the industry that urge caution. There’s a suspicion that developments that come with a guarantee may be overpriced and that the developers may have factored the cost of the guarantee into the actual price of the property that is being offered.

Those that hold this negative opinion about guarantees suggest that a better strategy for any investor might be to really understand the market in which the property is being offered, aim to get the lowest price possible, do the deal and then organise the letting independently.

Other cautious voices wonder if investors aren’t being tantalised with a vision of unrealistic long-term returns. The question that is asked is what happens when the guaranteed period ends? It’s not unknown for the guaranteed period to expire, and for the investor to suddenly realise that the true rental value of the property is much lower than they believed. Rental incomes suddenly drop, and they suddenly realise that they have overpaid into the wrong investment.

But still, many deny that developers overprice properties when offering guarantees. And no matter what, it’s clear that a rental guarantee is important for certain investors who need the security that it offers. And genuinely, it appears that there are some good guarantees out there on the market. So what to do?

The trick is to apply common sense and due diligence to the situation and examine the legal, commercial and financial strength of the guarantee and the market in which it is being offered. Here are some questions worth considering:

Legally, how is the guarantee structured?

Is it underwritten with a contract in which legal recourse is an option, should you not receive the income that is guaranteed? This is clearly important.

Commercially, is the guaranteed rental figure in-line with the rental market in which the property is situated? Basically, are the developers offering you more rental income than is actually achievable in the current market? If they are offering you more, then once the guaranteed period expires, you’ll probably see your returns on investment drop.

Financially, how does the guarantee work?

Is the guaranteed return dependent upon the commercial success of the project?

Some guarantees are based on projected annual revenues and are subject to these revenues being achieved. In other words, if the expected revenues aren’t achieved, the full guaranteed amounts might not be paid to the purchaser.

In addition to this, some guarantees may also come with the proviso that the amount being ‘guaranteed’ is ‘subject to the competency of’ the management of the complex. This may seem vague, but it’s possible that if the expected revenues aren’t achieved, then the blame for this failure is going to be put solely on the management company.

The vagueness of such a ‘competency’ proviso might also be used to cover all manner of issues. For example, is it possible that forecasted rental revenues might fail to materialise, not because of the bad management of a complex, but because the original forecasts were set too high? It might be easy to blame all manner of poor results on the incompetence of how an apartment complex is managed and to do this with no liability.

With this in mind, once again, it’s very important to look at the rental market in which the property is located, and then ask: are the projected annual revenues realistic in the current market? And of course, you will have to do some research on the developers.

Do the developers have a track record of successfully managing properties, renting them out and ensuring that incomes are generated?

If the answer to this is ‘no’, how then will they be able to generate the income that they are guaranteeing? This may be a sign that the property price has been ‘artificially’ increased to cover any foreseen shortfall in future income.

All-in-all, there’s a lot to consider. Guaranteed rental returns do offer investors a level of security, and it is natural for people to feel compelled to buy into them, and yes, there are some good offers on the market. But it’s worth remembering that in the right location, you’ll always be able to rent out a property.

As we always recommend at The Thaiger, do your homework!

To find thousands of available rental properties in Thailand, click HERE.

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Business

500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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