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Phuket ‘Under 13s’ off to UK in run-up to Rugby World Cup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket ‘Under 13s’ off to UK in run-up to Rugby World Cup | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Rugby World Cup 2011 takes center stage in September when 20 countries will battle it out to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

Before that, however, another rugby tournament will take place – one of far greater importance to a group of Phuket youngsters.

Ten lucky players from the Phuket Lomas Under-13 team have been chosen to represent their club, island and country at the prestigious Touraid Cup, taking place in the UK in June.

The annual rugby festival brings together underprivileged children from 10 countries to play in a 10-a-side rugby tournament.

Manchester has been chosen as the host city for 2011.

The Lomas players travelling to the UK all come from underprivileged backgrounds and have never previously been outside Thailand. Although Touraid is paying for the flights and visas, the Lomas Rugby Club is looking for new sponsors to help fund the trip and a new playing kit.

As part of the tour, the Lomas youngsters will be asked to help with various community projects alongside children from a host school.

The event is the brainchild of the charity’s CEO Andy Berry, who five years ago came up with the idea of bringing communities together and giving opportunities for disadvantaged kids to travel to the UK to play rugby.

Mr Berry believes the week-long Touraid festival is invaluable for the children involved and thinks the event can only help to broaden rugby’s appeal around the globe.

Visiting children will experience new friendships and many at the host schools will obtain an insight into the lives and circumstances of others who are less fortunate and culturally different.

Touraid has raised rugby awareness within countries not normally associated with the sport, and enjoys the support of oval ball luminaries Mike Catt, John Inverdale, Dean Richards, Jason Leonard and Chester Williams.

Top English Premiership rugby clubs will provide the Phuket Lomas and the other touring teams with coaching, helping children improve their rugby skills.

The Touraid Cup annually receives plenty of media coverage in the UK, including daily reports on the BBC.

Anybody interested in sponsoring the the Lomas UK tour, please contact team manager Pat Cotter at E: phuket [email protected]

Mr Cotter told the Phuket Gazette the kids are very excited about the prospect of touring overseas.

“They can’t wait to go. Unfortunately only 10 children can travel, so many will miss out, but we hope to have other opportunities for these kids to go overseas in the future to train and gain experience,” he added.

— Andrew Jennings

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Koh Samui

Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

Army, police and municipal officials have raided 18 hotels on Koh Samui claiming that they are illegally owned by foreigners. The hotels in questions are on a mountainside on the Gulf island, the second largest island in Thailand.

Officials carried out the search and raids on Chaweng Noi Mountain in Moo 6 village in Tambon Bophut  and found that 18 luxury mansions had been modified as hotels to cater to foreign tourists.

None of the 18 hotels were licensed and all are co-owned by businessmen from several countries, according to officials, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Israel and Austria. Officials said the foreigners used Thais as nominees by stating their names as co-owners.

The inspection was carried out following complaints from licensed hotels that they had seen a large decrease in patrons after the new hotels began operating. Hoteliers said the new hotels had an unfair advantage because they were not paying the same taxes, or operating under the sale rules, as the licensed hotels.

Officials found the 18 hotels had proper land deeds but had not been registered as hotels.

Bophut police station took legal action against foreign executives of the four companies that were operating four of the 18 hotels. They have been charged with operating without a hotel license and working in a business – food and beverage – that is reserved for Thais.

Police said they will summon executives of the remaining 14 hotels to face charges. The executives are all living abroad.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thai Life

Finance Ministry wants to give 1,500 baht to each domestic traveller

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Finance Ministry wants to give 1,500 baht to each domestic traveller | The Thaiger

The Finance Ministry says they are launching a new stimulus package to boost the country’s domestic tourism by giving Thais 1,500 baht each to spend when they travel to 55 provinces under the promotion campaign.

Under the campaign, Thais aged 18 and over can register for the program. The government will then deposit 1,500 baht into their accounts though the e-payment system. They can use the funds to make e-payments the shops that have joined the project.

“We are collaborating with the Tourism and Sport Ministry and Krung Thai Bank for the campaign and have set a budget of up to 15 billion baht. We will now propose the program to the deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak and the cabinet to consider as soon as possible. We aim to launch the campaign before July this year,” a source from the Finance Ministry said.

The ministry expects up to 10 million Thais to register for the program, he added.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Bangkok named most popular city for Japanese tourists

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Bangkok named most popular city for Japanese tourists | The Thaiger

Thai PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha says he was happy after hearing that Bangkok was named the most popular destination for Japanese tourists during their Golden Week, a five-day long holiday which begins in late April.

The survey was conducted by Agoda, the online booking platform. Pattaya and Phuket were also ranked among the most popular destinations at #4 and #10 respectively.

“Japanese tourists are among the top 5 nationalities of foreign tourists visiting Thailand, particularly Bangkok where there are many beautiful attractions, delicious food, not-too-high cost of living, and friendly Thai people. The two countries’s cultures are also quite similar. They can go along quite well,” said a spokesperson for the PM.

Lt Gen Werachon Sukondhapatipak, the deputy spokesman of the Thai government, added that the PM loves to follow the updates on the tourism industry. Thai tourists love to escape the summer heat in Thailand, and visit Japan to experience the Japanese spring, visit popular tourist locations, sample authentic Japanese food and the Japanese people. The PM also invited the Thai people to be a good hosts, making all tourists feel welcome and helping keep them safe.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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