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Xenophobia strikes out in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Xenophobia strikes out in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Welcome to the brand new year of twenty thirteen. So far the twenties have been pretty disappointing. Music seems to have taken on an alter personality with televised ‘talent shows’ now taking us dangerously close to a purgatory known as ‘karaoke-land’.

There are the movies, but sequels to mega-blockbusters seem to be rolling out faster than one of those greyhounds chasing the magic, metallic rabbit. Round and round we go.

Politics gets a yawn. Terrorism a niggle of anxiety and sports… well, we have Lance to thank for his fabulous great big lie: “I did not dope.”

Getting into the fray in Phuket, it seems momentum has turned to talk, news and idle chit chat about all things Russian. Not since the Cold War lapsed into a coma and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down like a poorly built shophouse, have these guys been in the spotlight so much.

It seems there is an outcry against the rising tide of Russian visitors here, doing business and buying property. Cresting on what has been one of the best high seasons ever, the tone is bittersweet from the tourism sector.

To frame the picture, as the world economy retracted during the global financial crisis, Asia, which includes Phuket, boomed. We built up a steady flow of new midscale hotels, for a large part indistinct properties which were vaguely similar, in an Alzheimer’s sort of way, and lacking in any real DNA. Personally I call this sector the ‘same sames’.

At the same time, prosperity grew among local citizens who started new service businesses such as shops, restaurants, travel agencies, tour companies and real estate agencies. Mass tourism enabled them to buy new cars, condos and cash flowed in. It must also be said that credit limits have also gone into orbit.

Everyone was prepared for more tourists, but what happened next was a massive wave of ‘Russians’ (more correctly on a broader scale, Eastern Europeans).

Charter flights filled to the brim, tour buses were jam packed and the beaches were full of the great untanned.

Suddenly there was an outcry from every corner of Phuket: “Too many Russians!” The island was overrun with them. Media reported on growing violence and then there was a taxi blockade over suspected Russian transport drivers; illegal shops and businesses. The police were called in and the ominous cycle of investigation began. My sarcastic self might add a LOL after that last line.

As for these new visitors, after decades of isolation, they just want to bust out and have some fun. Who can blame them? I’ve been to Moscow in the winter. Phuket has always been a haven for snowbirds, starting with the Germans, then the Scandinavians and now this emerging mass market. You could add China to the equation, though somehow those following that flag have not incurred the wrath of the locals. At least not yet.

Tourism and business leaders are issuing quotes about wanting higher spending visitors, and ranting about “zero baht tourists”. The last term is too crazy to even accommodate as I dare you to travel on a two-week holiday anywhere and not put money into the local economy.

Phuket’s tourism sector is like a child who goes into a candy story with a thousand baht. The eyes are ultimately bigger than the appetite and when the money is spent and all the ice cream is gone, there are only groans of remorse. The fact is that the island keeps on building more and more and once you punch the ticket of mass demand, there is no getting off the train.

But let’s get back to the angst over all these Russians. For the most part, the entire group is actually made up of a far larger Eastern European market. While I’m American, from a country well known for poor awareness of geography, at least I can tell the difference between Poland, Latvia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Look at Russia; it gave us the Bolshoi, great literature and of course those guys in red. No one is perfect. My own USA has bred an entire culture of gun-toting, Tea Party-supporting, Nascar-loving, country-and-western-music-singing, God-fearing xenophobes. I’m not even going to start poking fun at the Brits, Aussies, Germans or the French. It’s too easy.

In Asia’s crowded house, and yes, here in Thailand, which somehow sleepwalks itself from crisis to crisis, moderation and living in a rainbow world of multi-culturalism is its greatest strength. Phuket’s welcome mat to overseas visitors and investors should not be rolled up simply because we now have a large segment of Russian tourists.

Moving through 2013, the current spate of xenophobia will no doubt dim in the light of an, as yet unseen, freight train of unanticipated events and circumstances. Our lives today move in what seems to be ten-minute cycles and it seems the next big debacle is never more than a mouse click away.

And Lance – yes, you did dope.

Bill Barnett is managing director of C9 Hotelworks and can be contacted through C9hotelworks.com.

— Bill Barnett



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Phuket

The Patong Bay Hill Resort – where your holiday begins!

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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The Patong Bay Hill Resort – where your holiday begins! | The Thaiger

Nestled into the hills above Phuket’s popular Patong Beach, the modern Patong Bay Hill Resort is a luxurious resort which overlooks the ocean and the eclectic neighborhood below. 

Welcome to Patong Bay Hill Resort 

Set in a beautifully landscaped garden, Patong Bay Hill Resort is set amongst the natural, tropical environment of Patong’s Hasib-pee Hill. The resort offers majestic panoramic city and ocean views over the Andaman Sea. While private and secluded, Patong Bay Hill Resort is a just a few minutes away from Patong Beach and all of the nightlife, dining and entertainment this popular tourist destination has to offer. 

The atmosphere of Patong Bay Hill Resort is tranquil and serene. If you are looking for total relaxation while on holiday, Patong Bay Hill Resort is where your holiday begins! The resort consists of 16 buildings with 383 units. 138 of those units are on the ground floor and have direct access to a refreshing swimming pool.

The Patong Bay Hill Resort - where your holiday begins! | News by The Thaiger

Patong Bay Hill Resort Accommodation 

The 2 bedroom suites at Patong Bay Hill Resort are luxurious. Each suite is built in a modern style with fine, contemporary furnishings. Each suite boasts a terrace or balcony with either a garden or sea view, and full amenities are provided for guest’s comfort and relaxation. A few of the suites even have a private jacuzzi!

A full range of amenities are offered to guests staying at Patong Bay Hill Resort. The 2 bedroom suites have a kitchenette and microwave, as well as a minibar. For the tech savvy, each suite has both satellite and cable TV. Free high speed WiFi is also available throughout the resort, allowing those who need to work while on holiday to remain connected to the outside world. 

To ensure guest’s utmost comfort, bathrobes and bedroom slippers are provided along with toiletries. There is also an evening turndown service, which is a hallmark of high quality hotels and resorts. Let us prepare the bed, so that when your day is done, all you need to do is slip in! 

The Patong Bay Hill Resort - where your holiday begins! | News by The Thaiger

The Restaurant at Patong Bay Hill Resort 

Delicious food & beverage offerings are available at Patong Bay Hill Resort. The on-site restaurant at Patong Bay Hill Resort serves a delectable range of traditional Thai cuisine as well as a variety of international favorites. Breakfast at the resort is a splendid affair. The breakfast buffet features a live egg station as well as a mix of Asian and international breakfast choices. Lunch and dinner options are also available at the on-site restaurant. For those looking to sate their thirst, the restaurant features an extensive beverage menu which also includes cocktails & spirits. Fresh juices and soft drinks are also available. 

Book Your Stay at Patong Bay Hill Resort

Ready to book your stay at Patong Bay Hill Resort? For further queries and questions, get in touch with us. We look forward to welcoming you to Patong Bay Hill Resort, a modern, luxurious resort on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand. 

The Patong Bay Hill Resort - where your holiday begins! | News by The Thaiger

Visit www.patongbayhill.com to learn more! 

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Business

Well Hotels signs new Pattaya resort on Phratamnak Hill

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Well Hotels signs new Pattaya resort on Phratamnak Hill | The Thaiger

Well Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of a management contract for a new boutique property that will be branded Phratamnak Well Resort Pattaya.

The property is set to open in late 2019 with 78 rooms and suites.

According to the agreement, Well Hotels & Resorts will take on the responsibility for the pre-opening and full operational management.

Phratamnak Well Resort Pattaya, owned by the Kasetsinn company, is located in the up-scale Phratamnak area, a short walk from the beach, close to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Pattaya Hill Top.

Phratamnak Well Resort Pattaya is the fourth property under the management of Well Hotels & Resorts, after it took over the management of Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 in 2016, followed by Costa Well Resort Pattaya in Bang Saray and White Sand Beach Residences Pattaya in Na Jomtien.

Well Hotels signs new Pattaya resort on Phratamnak Hill | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: ttrweekly.com

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Phang Nga

Phuket’s hotel and property players look north

Bill Barnett

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Phuket’s hotel and property players look north | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

One of Greater Phuket’s real estate and hotel market’s that has a decided buzz of late is the area up over the Sarasin bridge in Phang Nga.

In Natai, the entry of the Baba Beach Club and nearby Akyra is creating renewed visibility for the broad West Coast stretch of white sand beach.

Two upscale hotels are in the development phase in the vicinity, with one being flagged to an international hotel operator.

Up at the 1,000 plus rai Thai Muang mega-project, movement is once again underway, as is a nearby massive Japanese-led mixed-use project including a golf course.

Land values are currently running amuck in the Koh Kloi area where the AOT (Airports of Thailand) has reportedly acquired land for an upcoming Phang Nga airport which will provide Phuket with a second gateway alternative.

Premium land transactions are taking place, with the most notable being the recent trade of the former oceanfront site in Bodan that was to be at various stages first a Raffles and later a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

Looking at Phuket’s light-rail initiative, one knock-on effect will be the eventual linkage between the island and larger connection to a broader rail terminus in Koh Kloi. This will likely spur real estate speculators to acquire peripheral locations.

As Phang Nga’s West Coast four land highway expansion moves forward to Khao Lak and beyond, Phuket’s Northern neighbor is seeing a renewed push in its tourism, property and infrastructure.

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