Skip to content

Phuket beach vendors allowed back, with restrictions

December 22, 2014

During a meeting at Provincial Hall last Friday, Governor Nisit Jansomwong announced the drafting of an interim plan that brings back Phuket beach vendors for the next three months.


The plan, however, still prohibits beach chair vendors from operating their businesses.

“We all need to find the solution. Each and every body needs to follow the law, there must not be land seizure. The beaches must belong to the public where citizens can access.”

Under the plan, all Phuket beaches will have special designated areas (zones) that will cover about 10 per cent of the sand and vendors must display all fees that they will charge. Vendors who are registered with the local administrative organisation will be permitted to operate.

All vendors will be allowed to operate from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

“If there are people who don’t adhere to this principle, then they can not operate their business. You have to follow the rule,” he said.

One umbrella operator, one massage service, and one food/drink vendor will be allowed per special designated zone for up to three days straight. After that, each vendor must switch with another similar business.

Food vendors are also not allowed to cook on the beach while it will be up to local administrative organisations will be responsible for setting up the special zones.

For the next two weeks, Phuket Vice Governors will be speaking with local leaders and vendors to hammer out the minutiae of the plan, Gov Nisit added.

“We will provide the area where it doesn’t irritate and encroach the tourists and ‘local poor Phuket people’ can earn a living, and not have an ‘influential figure’ take all the business,” Gov Nisit said.

The plan is the result of talks between military officials, local government bodies and the beach vendors who were kicked off of the Phuket sands earlier this year.

“If those extremists who want to have everything back just like before, I can not accept that at all. Because what we are doing now is to, at least, help [beach vendors] to make money within a limited area,” Gov Nisit said.

“The beaches must be clean and tidy and get back to the list of world class beaches.”.
– See more at:


Thai tourism recovery continues in November 2014

December 19, 2014

The November arrivals are a clear indicator that a recovery is underway and has brought back the confidence of international tourists to visit Thailand again. Preliminary figures of daily visitor arrivals in December at international airports are also showing a steady upturn in the last month of 2014.


The number of the international visitor arrivals has continuously risen for the second month. Visitor arrivals to Thailand in November totalled 2,438,301, a growth of 2.53 percent over November 2013. Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports show that the main contributing factor was a 58.8% surge in Chinese visitors to 513,441.

The November arrivals are a clear indicator that a recovery is underway and has brought back the confidence of international tourists to visit Thailand again. Preliminary figures of daily visitor arrivals in December at international airports are also showing a steady upturn in the last month of 2014.

In November, the top ten source markets were China, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Lao PDR, Korea, India, the UK and Germany. By region, the largest source market was East Asia with a total of 1,472,427 visitors, up 10.80% and representing 60.39% of all arrivals. Visitors from South Asia also grew by 3.28%, largely due to a recovery in the Indian market, which was up 0.42% to 85,352.

Commenting on the nascent recovery, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “The November arrival figures are a very encouraging sign. We are optimistic that visitor arrivals in December will be satisfying, especially in view of the major promotions we have mounted for the New Year Countdown festivities.”

He added, “This has been a very challenging year indeed for the entire travel and tourism industry. However, we have broken through this challenge and implemented many ways to handle it. The November figures are clear proof that these efforts have generated a positive result.”

According to the latest figures from January to November 2014, the total international tourists record at 21,938,435.

The sign of recovery for Thailand tourism began to show since the last three months with the country recording higher tourism income, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. To-date, many accommodation establishments in key Thai destinations have received a high number of advance bookings up until the Chinese New Year 2015 period, especially from the China market. Many tourists also opt to travel directly to top beach destinations with international airports, such as Phuket and Krabi.

2015: The year of the traveller

December 18, 2014

2014 has been nothing short of exhilarating. By Angel Gallego, President of Amadeus Asia Pacific


In fact, this is a thrilling time to be a part of the travel industry in Asia Pacific, with two emerging themes propelling the region to global prominence: the ascendance of the Asian traveller and the explosion of mobile.

Asia Pacific is home to more than 60% of the world’s population  but has long been underrepresented in terms of its travelling population. With the emergence of a travelling middle class, reduction in red tape across the region, and the rise of low cost carriers, APAC has risen to taken its rightful share of the global travel market.

In fact, leisure tourism revenue in Northeast Asia alone is set to climb by 10% in 2015 to $900 billion, surpassing leisure tourism in the EU and North America.

When we add mobile to the mix the story really becomes interesting.

In 2014 we saw a 25% year on year global growth in smart phone usage and a massive 65% growth in mobile travel purchases. Parts of APAC have essentially leapfrogged the online era and are leading the mobile charge, with China and India set to become the number one and two smart phone markets respectively, knocking the USA into third place.

The “who’s who” of APAC online travel were polled at the Amadeus Online Connect event in Phuket last month, and almost half said that mobile will be a game changer.

With a mobile in nearly every hand, being unlocked up to 110 times a day, we have a better opportunity than ever to truly understand and capture data throughout the traveller lifecycle. Hotels, airlines and travel companies have been compelled to introduce applications that put the traveller at the centre, including mobile booking apps, check in, boarding passes, reviews and hotel room keys.

As the chatter turns to wearable devices, which have been forecasted to skyrocket from nine million devices in 2013 to 180 million in 2016, the opportunity becomes even more fascinating.

Regardless of what the next big thing is, the message is clear – technology has empowered the traveller. Travel providers have to start placing the traveller at the heart of everything, finding ways to meld themselves into the lifestyle of the traveller, or risk being left behind.

I truly believe that this is only the beginning. Next year, we will start to see how companies will re-shape their businesses according to the traveller’s needs. 2015 will be the year of the traveller.


Amadeus’ Shaping the Future of Travel: Macro trends driving industry growth over the next decade


European countries paint the sky for Pattaya International Fireworks Festival

December 15, 2014

The night sky above Pattaya Bay became a canvas that four European countries painted with exploding rockets and lasers for more than 200,000 people at the Pattaya International Fireworks Festival.


Teams from Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom dazzled crowds with explosions and pinwheels Nov. 28-29, capping day-long street festivals featuring food, music and entertainment.

Fireworks from Team England are the perfect addition to a Pattaya Bay panorama.Fireworks from Team England are the perfect addition to a Pattaya Bay panorama.

Fireworks began around 9 p.m. each day with the show split into three parts and contestants of Thailand’s Got Talent providing the intermission entertainment. Two teams put on individual shows of 20-25 minutes each night with the other teams putting on short demonstrations at 10 p.m.

England’s performance focused on the art of experience, enhanced with imagination of color screening and shapes expressing the biological relationship between the eyes and mind of the spectators and artists. The highlight was the final explosion meant to depict an explosion of life.

Germany illustrated the power of flowers in a concept called “Art of Life,” highlighting the explosions and stimulation of excitement leading to ultimate powers of creativity emphasizing natural brightness.

The fireworks not only lit up the night sky, they also lit up Pattaya Bay.The fireworks not only lit up the night sky, they also lit up Pattaya Bay.

The Italian team wrung out emotions, including excitement, serenity filled with sadness, and happiness, all converging into a sky of bright and hot colors.

Finally, the Spanish lit the sky with unlimited creativity and an expression of love of life, focusing on tones of color.

While the pyrotechnics took center stage, Friday’s festivities actually began at 3:30 p.m. and ran through 11 p.m. while Saturday ran from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. Beach Road was closed to traffic both days from 3:30-11 p.m. and all side streets from Second Road were blocked to allow sponsor Thai Life Insurance to throw its “Art of Life” street festival.

Germany’s fireworks burst into 3 flowers.Germany’s fireworks burst into 3 flowers.

The day featured a flash-mob dance, game booths and concerts by ETC and Stamp Aphiwat on Friday, and Zeal and J Jetrin on Saturday. Activities along Beach Road also included a “music art carnival,” street art plus food and drinks.

The entire day was free, but VIP seats with food, drinks and raffle draws were available with proceeds benefiting Thai Life Insurance’s “One Give, Many Receive” charitable campaign.

Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome believes more than 200,000 people saw the fireworks over the two days, generating at least 300 million baht for the city.

Thailand Elite partners with Phuket International Boat Show to attract high net worth individuals to Thailand

December 12, 2014

Organisers of the Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), held 8th to 11th January 2015 at Royal Phuket Marina, confirm a strategic partnership with Thailand Elite, the world’s first country membership programme, to showcase Phuket and Thailand’s yachting lifestyle to Thailand Elite members and provide a marketing and networking platform showcasing Thailand Elite to the growing number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) and High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) that have holiday homes in Phuket and will be visiting the Show.


“PIMEX is Asia’s premier boat show and attracts a large number of High Net Worth Individuals interested in boating and a luxury lifestyle. Working together with PIMEX we will showcase the event to our members and also showcase the Thailand Elite programme to the thousands of people from overseas who will visit PIMEX,” said Mr. Apisit Chuenchompoo, President, Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd.

Famed for its stunning in-water display of luxury boats – the biggest of any show in Asia – PIMEX 2015 will showcase 50 boats, of which 15 are over 20 metres, to a clientele of boating enthusiasts and aficionados of luxurious living from the regional wealth centres of Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as thousands of visitors from Europe.

“The quality of boats in-the-water and exhibitors in the Hall is, I believe, the best ever. There are 50 boats displayed as well as more than 120 brands represented with luxury motor brands Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, BMW and Mini all exhibiting for the first time. They will be joined by the latest marine products and technology and luxury lifestyle offerings – a total of 80 exhibitors in all,” said Andy Dowden, PIMEX Show Director.

The traditional core of visitors from Hong Kong and Singapore has expanded over recent years on the back of strong visitor-marketing campaigns targeting Russia, China and Thai buyers.

“We have seen considerable growth in visitors from Europe in recent years, especially from Russia, and this has been mirrored by growth in the number of Thai visitors also. Our exhibitors range from luxury boats and cars to all manner of marine toys, gadgets and products, through to luxury real estate and more, and it is this mix of luxury and lifestyle exhibitors that attracts an increasingly cosmopolitan visitor demographic,” added Dowden.

While having a strong focus on leisure, be it through luxury boating, motoring, real estate and more, PIMEX is also attracting an ever-growing number of regional and international business travellers, in large part due to its ongoing partnership and support from the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

“PIMEX provides a unique platform for B2B and B2C business, attracting a lot of potential buyers from within Thailand and overseas each year. Home to the leading boat show in the region, PIMEX, Phuket is also the hub for marine leisure tourism and the wider marine industry, and TCEB are proud to support both PIMEX and Phuket Island”, commented Ms. Jaruwan Suwannasat, Director of Exhibitions & Events, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau.

A four-day festival of everything marine and lifestyle, PIMEX shines the light on Thailand’s marine leisure tourism industry and the Island’s leading position as the marine hub of Asia, attracting a desirable demographic of High Net Worth Individuals and thousands from around the world to view the 3 Billion Baht offerings, ranging from uberluxe superyachts and multi-million dollar villas to day boats and dinghies, condominiums, marine accessories and products, and much more.

PIMEX is open Thursday 8th January to Saturday 10th January from 12:00 – 20:00, and on Sunday 11th January from 11:00 – 18:00. Entry is free.

Samui Tourism Receives Massive Boost

December 11, 2014

The recent upgrading of daily flight capacity from 36 to 50 flights a day is set to stimulate Koh Samui’s tourism market.


Based on media reports, the environmental restriction was lifted November 24th and will allow greater access by both regular scheduled service and charter flights.

Flights will continue to be allowed to take-off and land between 6 am and 10 pm, but the increase of 36% in daily traffic is expected to spur increases.

Bangkok Airways who launched an IPO this year are adding three more Airbus A320 aircraft in 2015.

A key stimulator of long haul and regional growth has been the Kuala Lumpur flights to the island which connect onto Europe, the Middle East and Australia. With greater capacity, more flights could multiply tourism growth.

There still remains the China question with AirAsia currently supplying much of the Chinese traffic via Surat Thani.

Overall the new airlift capacity into Koh Samui is a strong fundamental positive for one of Thailand’s leading resort destinations.

Street Eats: An authentic Phuket breakfast

December 10, 2014

When you think of a good old Western breakfast, you imagine some crusty toast, ham, an omelette, pancakes, cereal or other similar tasty food, but here in Phuket a traditional local breakfast is quite the opposite.


The culture in Phuket is a mix of Thai Buddhists and Muslims, with over half the locals a mix of Chinese. This is why Chinese-style food can be found among any of the island’s popular dishes, from breakfast to dinner or street food.

One of the most popular breakfasts for Phuketian’s is Siao Boi, otherwise known as Dim Sum, which has a unique spicy, yet sweet thick red sauce.

Yaowamal Woaranopakul is the owner of Juan Hiang restaurant and she is the oldest owner of a Siao Boi restaurant in Phuket. The menu has largely developed over the years but the unique sauce is something that no one can copy.

“There were around 10 different kinds of Siao Boi when my father was responsible. We have around 50 dishes, mixing authentic recipes with modern tastes and ingredients. However, we have kept the original recipe for the sauce, something you won’t find in other restaurants.

“We have five Siao Boi restaurants in total in the family: three Boonrat dim sum branches, the Juan Hiang branch and another one in the Samkong area,” she explained.

“The cooks put a lot of effort into the dim sum and the flavours are so fresh you can feel them through every mouthful. Their attention to detail and efforts in making the dim sum, is the key to our success.”

Ms Yaowamal said there are a number of Siao Boi restaurants around Phuket, but so few actually make their own food – they just head to the nearest convenience store and buy ready made food.

“We make our own homemade Siao Boi every evening, in preparation for the next morning. We care about the taste and freshness of the food, which is why I think the business has continued smoothly over the last century,” she said.