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Chiang Mai

The new visa-fee waiver working in the north

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The new visa-fee waiver working in the north | The Thaiger

According to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the new visa-fee waiver is working. Well, in the northern provinces anyway.

The northern provinces are reporting an increase in the number of foreign visitors, thanks to the government’s free visa on arrival campaign.

Wiwat Piyawiroj , Executive Vice President of Commercial at Thai Airways, says the free visa on arrival scheme for 21 nationalities has boosted the number of foreign visitors in Thailand’s north, particularly in the tourist cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

He notes that more Thai Airways flights have been booked by Chinese passport holders as many of them will be celebrating the Loi Krathong Festival and the western New Year in Thailand.

Another contributor to the increase in the number of foreign visitors is the secondary destination campaign which offers tour packages to lesser-known attractions, according to Wiwat.

He added that Thai Airways is conducting a feasibility study on its return to the US market with a possibility of adding direct flights to American cities, following a report that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to upgrade the Thai aviation sector to Category 1.

Thailand was downgraded to Category 2 in 2015 because of its failure to comply with international safety standards. The downgrade prohibited Thai carriers from adding new routes or expanding existing services to the world’s top aviation markets such as to the US.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand



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Chiang Mai

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand

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British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook.com

A British backpacker is back in the UK for Easter after being released from prison after being incarcerated for 10 days over a ‘trivial’ offence.

26 year old Chris Dodd told the BBC he was arrested for picking up a mobile phone he found on the ground whilst waiting for a taxi at the Chiang Mai airport. He was accused of theft after taking it with him to his accommodation.

According to Chris, he says he picked up the phone trying to find the owner. In doing so he moved it to a different location – considered theft under Thai law. He says his intention was to report it to police and find the owner when he arrived at his hostel accommodation.

Police identified him on airport CCTV. He was arrested at the hostel.

Prison guards shaved Mr Dodd’s head but gave him the shaved-off dreadlocks saying he could keep them.

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

“I was stripped naked, sent in, given a blanket.”

“Nobody spoke English. It was really intimidating. You just have to fight for a space on the floor and you have people’s legs all over you,” Chris told the BBC.

According to his lawyer he faced a five year prison sentence if convicted, but the charges against him were eventually dropped and he was able to leave Thailand. Mr Dodd was released on bail after family and friends raised £20,000 (828,000 baht).

His lawyer told Mr Dodd to leave Thailand immediately after being released. The charges were dropped last Friday.

SOURCE: BBC

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai

Freak summer storms damage 1,000 houses around Chiang Mai

The Thaiger

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Freak summer storms damage 1,000 houses around Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS

Up to 1,000 homes were damaged by gusty winds and storm cells over the weekend around Chiang Mai. Ten districts were blacked out for several hours when a freak rain storm struck on Saturday, ripping off the roofs of homes and flinging debris around the districts.

According to the provincial public disaster prevention and mitigation office, the worst-hit district was Hang Don where many houses had their roofs blown off by the gale-force wind which also downed many power poles causing power outage which lasted for several hours. About a dozen cars also sustained damage from flying debris.

Water and power supplies, cut off for many during the storm, were restored later on Saturday evening.

Construction materials such as roof tiles and corrugated iron sheeting have been sent by the office to the affected areas to affect immediate repairs pending detailed assessments of the damages.

The Third Army Region has set up a mobile kitchen at the municipal office of Tambon Nong Kwai to provide free food to the victims on the request of His Majesty the King.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Air Pollution

Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires | The Thaiger

Mae Hong Son province continues to be plagued by forest fires despite the ban and the raging haze and smoke problems.

In recent months, Mae Hong Son has been struggling with haze most of the time with flights to its airport limited at the height of the crisis. Exposure to the serious air pollution has become a threat to the health of locals. Authorities continue to blame outdoor fires as the key cause of smog.

However, illegal outdoor fires continue to be detected.

Satellite images confirmed that there were at least 23 hotspots in Mae Hong Son yesterday. Of them, 13 were in Sop Moei district.

Kampanart Prachongpim, who heads Mae Hong Son’s forest-fire control division, says that teams from several provinces had come to Mae Hong Son to help extinguish forest fires that were often caused by people. At least, two bushfires extinguished yesterday were caused by people going into the forest to collect forest produce. According to him, by the time these forest fires were put out, about nine rai of forest reserves had been destroyed.

Mae Hong Son is 100 kilometres north west of Chiang Mai, near the Myanmar border.

Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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