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Perspective: West coast hoteliers give some insight into low season hotel traffic – Phuket

The Thaiger

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Perspective: West coast hoteliers give some insight into low season hotel traffic – Phuket | The Thaiger

by property.thethaiger.com

Speaking to a number of west-coast hoteliers on the island The Thaiger heard a few ‘truths’ about Phuket’s surging tourism industry, from the front line and not from the Associations which are forever pitching extravagant occupancy rates, spinning the numbers.

The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) can sometimes be accused of painting a ‘too rosy’ picture of what’s happening in the tourism industry as well. Then again, that’s their job, to attract more tourists to the Kingdom. On a straight numbers basis, the TAT have been doing a great job.

But behind the wai from reception staff and the overly-sweet ‘arrival drink’, there are a few facts that have emerged over the past few months – mostly pertaining to Phuket’s west coast.

For decades there was a distinct high and low season pattern with (you won’t be surprised) the high season being very busy and low season deathly quiet. That’s changed radically in the past ten years but a new truism has emerged – based on anecdotal evidence but now backed up now with statistics – May is the worst month of the year for the hospitality industry in Phuket.

Perspective: West coast hoteliers give some insight into low season hotel traffic - Phuket | News by The Thaiger

We asked some of the island’s leading hoteliers, none of which wanted to be identified, to comment about why May has emerged as the quieter month of the year.

“This year’s May was down, as usual, but not as bad as we had predicted for 2018. The high season lasted a bit longer this year than last. Whilst the Russians are back in high numbers, perhaps not as high as we’d projected. The Chinese market is always reliably busy just about all months of the year.”

Another noted that the May drop is becoming an important time for hotels to squeeze in some maintenance.

“As much of the year sees generally high occupancy now, we’re grateful for a quiet month to program some maintenance. The three new years are over (January 1, Chinese New Year and Thai New Year), the Songkran crowds have dispersed and the monsoon kicks in. It’s a perfect time for some repainting and redecorating.”

Most of the hoteliers we spoke to said that June and July forward-bookings are currently below their predictions but August was already starting to fill up. What’s going on?

“It’s the World Cup. The Russians aren’t coming this June and July and plenty of others are either going to Russia or have decided to program a break watching the soccer instead of coming to Phuket.”

The middle of the year was always strong for the Australian market visiting Phuket, and has been for a number of decades.

“It’s winter in the southern Australian states and we usually get lots of Aussie booking during this time. But the baht is very high against the Australian dollar at the moment so Australians seem to be looking for better value, at least this year.”

Another spoke about the maturing of the Chinese market saying they’re seeing a different mix of Chinese tourists now.

“There’s no doubt we’re still getting plenty of the tour bus and zero-dollar crowds but there’s also a real rise in the FITs (Free Independent Travelers) coming now. They’re making their own bookings online, renting motorbikes, leaving the hotel for meals and booking their own tours. This is a positive sign for this second generation of Chinese tourist coming to the island.”

When I pushed them to comment on the numbers sprouted by the TAT they all confirmed that the numbers are true – it just gets busier every year and most of the better hotels are reporting high occupancy most of the year.

“But there’s been a lot of new hotels opening up as well and there’s more coming. So we’re all having to work smarter to get our slice of the tourist mix. And the mix keeps changing. So if you’re not reviewing your marketing strategies every month you’re not in the game.”

Perspective: West coast hoteliers give some insight into low season hotel traffic - Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Belarusian ‘Anastasia’ will be in Moscow detention another 3 days

The Thaiger

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Belarusian ‘Anastasia’ will be in Moscow detention another 3 days | The Thaiger

Anastasia Vashukevich, aka. Nastya Rybka, the Belarusian model/sex-educator/Instagramer who spent a year in a Thai jail awaiting last week’s Court case, and was then deported, remains in a Moscow jail as of last night after the presiding judge decided to extend her detention by 72 hours.

She was arrested at Moscow airport on Thursday after being deported from Thailand on Tuesday night. She, and seven others, pleaded guilty last Tuesday for participating in a “sex training course” in Pattaya nearly 12 months ago.

During a hearing yesterday in Moscow, she said she did not want to “in any way compromise aluminum mining magnate, Oleg Deripaska”.

According to Interfax she said in the hearing, ”I have had enough.”

Her lawyer Dmitry Zatsarinsky, told reporters that his young client “has committed no crime” and had “nothing to do with” Deripaska and “still less with US President Donald Trump”.

On Friday her lawyer denounced Anastasia’s arrest, which was made while she was in transit in Moscow after a flight from Thailand on her way to Belarus.

The Belarusian gained notoriety last year when she claimed she had proof of Russian collusion with the Trump Presidential election campaign. She has now had her detention in Moscow extended by three days by a Russian court.

According to Interfax reports, she told the court she denied the accusation of prostitution, telling the court that “I am not guilty of what I am accused.”

She unexpectedly pleaded guilty in a Bangkok court to charges of prostitution relating to last February’s sex training course in Pattaya. The Thai judge suspended the group’s sentences but deported them, effective immediately.

Anastasia had been in custody in Thailand since a police raid in what AFP described as the “sleazy seaside resort of Pattaya” last February.

Belarusian 'Anastasia' will be in Moscow detention another 3 days | News by The Thaiger

Anastasia cruising around Phang Nga in 2017 – Instagram

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Thailand

New 500 baht fine for drunk cycling

The Thaiger

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New 500 baht fine for drunk cycling | The Thaiger

Up to now drink-driving cyclists have not been included in the laws governing drunk drivers of other vehicles in Thailand. But with the rising popularity of cycling as a fitness trend, that’s about to change with a new 500 baht fine if bought drunk in control of a bike.

Drunk bicyclists who are currently immune to litigation because there is no law to make drunk cycling an offence. The new laws are covered in the upgraded traffic bill which passed the first reading of the National Legislative Assembly last week.

But, according to the Bill drafters, riding bicycles in public while being drunk is still regarded as a petty offence and the penalty would be just a 500 baht fine.

The same new traffic bill also seeks to empower traffic police to seize driving licenses of drivers found to be drunk behind the wheels and judged incapable of driving.

The bill will also merge the Land Transport Department and police databases to coordinate and share information on backgrounds and traffic violations records of drivers and motorcyclists.

A score system is being introduced under which law-breaking drivers will have their scores cut for every traffic violation.  Everyone will start a 12 month period with 12 points. If the scores are down to zero, the drivers will have their driving licenses suspended for up to 90 days.

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Bangkok

Bangkok smog: Police get out their hoses

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok smog: Police get out their hoses | The Thaiger

by Kornkamon Aksorndech 

Traffic police and volunteers sprayed water at four locations in Bangkok this morning in a bid to curb the dust and smog pollution.

Pol Maj General Nithithorn Jintakanon, commander of the Traffic Police Division of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, presided at the dispatch of 150 police officers and volunteers from his headquarters on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.

They chose four high-traffic locations and sprayed water in front of the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, the Din Daeng expressway toll gates and at the Ratchadapisek-Lat Phrao intersection on Lat Phrao Road and a Ramkhamhaeng Road intersection.

#pissinginthewind

Bangkok smog: Police get out their hoses | News by The Thaiger Bangkok smog: Police get out their hoses | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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