Docstoc

Koh Samui properties newsletter 75

Document Sample
Koh Samui properties newsletter 75 Powered By Docstoc
					                    NEWSLETTER No 75 – DECEMBER 2010
If you are receiving this Newsletter for the first time, but do not wish to receive it in the future please simply reply to the email it came
with and let me know. If you know someone who would like to be added to the Mailing List, please let me know at the same email
address.

The main issue over the past month has of course been the exceptionally wet monsoon season this year. As previously
reported the Municipality has been working on improving the drainage at various points around the island but the weight of
rain falling is still too much for them to cope with and the result is massive flooding in all the usual places – the link road
between the Ring Road and Fisherman’s Village; the Ring Road by Bandara Hotel, Samui Town Centre and between the
police box and Caltex Filling station; Laem Din and Dao Markets and the Beach road. However, the good news is that once
the rain stops the drains do take the water away pretty quickly. Then you can see the damage that has occurred. It is not at
all surprising that the tarmac road has been affected as laying tarmac directly onto the old concrete road was never going
to be a long term solution.

As usual with severe weather there has been a lot of other damage including a large tree behind the 7-11 at the sharp turn
                                              in Hua Thanon which fell onto the adjoining building. You can see the
                                              damage in this photo taken a couple of days later when the weather had
                                              briefly improved. As far as I am aware no one was hurt. We had our own
                                              share of problems with a couple of broken roof tiles and a collapsed ceiling
                                              and of course finding someone to repair this when everyone was shouting
                                              for roofers and builders was not easy.

                                            A word of advice. If you own your property through a Thai company. Do you
                                            know where all your original documentation is? The original incorporation
                                            documents and share certificates being the most important but also your
                                            Tax ID Card, Tabien Ban (House Book), audited accounts and tax receipts?
                                            You will need all of these if and when you decide to sell either by a share
                                            transfer or sale out of the company. If you do not have them, then it will
delay the whole process by some considerable time.

If you are intending to use a Courier Service to send anything to Koh Samui, another word of advice. Avoid DHL. They do
not know where Koh Samui is. A client sent us three packages from Hong Kong correctly addressed to our offices with my
contact details. This was on Friday 12th November. The same day I was given the tracking number which showed the
destination as Phuket. DHL Hong Kong was immediately informed of the error. This is the route the packages took. Hong
Kong – Cincinnati – Hong Kong – Bangkok – Phuket – Bangkok – Hong Kong – Bangkok – Phuket – Bangkok. At this point
they gave up and sent it from Bangkok by Thai Post EMS. The first two packages arrived on Monday 22nd and I had to
collect them from the Post Office – hardly the door to door service they advertise. The third package was missing. I
contacted DHL in Bangkok on Tuesday morning and they confirmed they had sent it separately by post and gave me the
tracking number. I went to the Post Office and they found the package but informed me they were about the return it to the
sender (DHL) as it was incorrectly addressed. I was able to assure them it was for me, so eventually I had all three
packages. DHL have an office on Koh Samui, but DHL Bangkok “think” they must just be an agent. Contact with DHL
Headquarters in Germany just elicited the usual “We will look into your comments” and nothing further since.

Follow Ko Samui Properties on these Social Media Sites

             Face Book                                       Twitter                                 LinkedIn




People continue to recognize that there has been a significant market adjustment over the last two years. Each week we
have been getting instructions to reduce asking prices to levels more appropriate to the prevailing market conditions
although May was again somewhat quiet in this respect. You can however find these on our web site at the Hot Press
Offers . You will see a great number of properties with prices that have been reduced from between 17% and 30% with an

                                                                                                                                       Page 1 of 6
average reduction of 25%. These reductions are producing sales and, although still not many, there are a few more buyers
around than there were a few weeks ago.

It has been a quiet month for New Listings but not surprising considering the weather.

See also in particular the following New Listing – CTRL + click to follow the link:

                       NEW LISTING
                       Large 3 Bedroom Villa in Namuang
                       Available at - Baht 15 million




                       PRICE REDUCTION
                       3 Bed Thai style villa with pool in Baan Tai – Baht 19.95 million -
                       Now Available at - Baht 16 million




We have a number of new properties to inspect this month so look out for details on the web site and in next months
Newsletter.


                         For Festivals around Thailand visit the Tourist Authority of Thailand website.




Samui Express is on line and you can find them here
And you can find The Samui Gazette here - http://theSamuigazette.com/

A green light for Thailand's tourism                                          The Guardian          28 October 2010
Tourism on the popular islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao in the southern gulf of Thailand has contributed to
increased pollution in the area. Alex Rees investigates how the local government is starting to make steps towards a clean-up
campaign
Watch this video clip here

Firm offers quick fix to garbage problem                                           Samui Express November 2010
A local businessman has set up a recycling company that he says will rid the island of its mounting garbage problem.
Somchai Sangchaysuppakorn, managing director of Wongpanit Koh Samui, said that all it takes to solve Samui’s worsening waste-
disposal headache is for people and businesses to practice garbage segregation. Somchai, who is also managing director of Orapin
Group, which owns the Centara-managed luxury properties Bhundhari Spa Resort and Villas Samui and Centara Parita Resort and
Villas on Koh Phangan, said Wongpanit promises to gradually, but in a short span of time, solve the island’s garbage problem.
“Some people make an easy task difficult by spending a lot of time discussing and seeking advice. And often, they end up arguing,”
he said, “when all one has to do to accomplish something or solve a problem is to buckle down to work.” The 36-year old
businessman with an engineering degree said he had heard for many years now about Samui’s acute garbage problem. Initially,
according to him, he wondered “why the island should have such problem when almost all of the garbage that you can see around is
reusable.” During the last three years he got the chance to see the incinerator of the municipality and saw how the garbage was
separated and buried. He added that he also got a chance to talk to the small garbage buyers and recyclers. “These made me
realize and strongly believe that this is a very big problem, bigger than what I previously thought,” Somchai said. He said this was
because most of the people who are dealing directly with the garbage don’t even have sufficient knowledge and tools to handle the
garbage. “These people don’t even have gloves, masks or goggles, which are important when separating recyclable garbage from
the wet garbage. “In my desire to help Samui solve its garbage problem, I went to study waste management with Wongpanit, a local
waste-recycling company with 30 of years of experience. I purchased the franchise from them in order to bring this knowledge and
technology to Samui,” he said. The first thing he did was use the three-rai prime lot along Chaweng Noi as Wongpanit’s main
recycling facility. He and his small staff then started approaching businesses on the island to buy and collect their wastes. They also
offered to buy scraps collected by small garbage shops at better prices. He said they have now about 50 hotels on the island that
regularly give them their garbage for disposal.


                                                                                                                              Page 2 of 6
He said the recycling project, which began operations in February this year, will buy wastes from hotels, resorts and other
businesses on Samui. After sorting and compressing them, these junks and scraps are sent to Bangkok for reprocessing into new
products. Somchai said what is good about the project is that businesses are not only able to dispose of their trash, they also make
some money on the side. In fact, they can also exchange their garbage for some second-hand items such as metals, plastic pipes,
plastic containers, etc. He added that unlike the regular junk buyers, Wongpanit is not selective as it buys all kinds of junks. As of
now, the company has four trucks going around to pick up garbage. “Some people called me crazy when I started this business but I
know I am doing the right thing as I want my family, especially my daughter, to grow up on an island not covered with garbage”
Somchai said.

TAT to promote Samui as medical tourism destination                                          Samui Express November 2010
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will launch its “E-Marketing Campaign for Medical Tourism in Samui” and website
www.ThailandMedTourism.com. The marketing campaigns that will run through to April 2011 hopes to enhance Thailand ’s
reputation as the “global center of excellence for medical tourism” expects more visitors to the paradise island. The website collects
and provides information on medical tourism providers in Thailand, including hospitals, clinics, spas, and Thai traditional medicine
practitioners and their level of accreditation and standards. So far, more than 340 medical tourism providers are listed on the
website.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The online campaign will boost the number of medical tourists as well as increase the
average time they stay in Samui. And this will help other tourism related businesses, such as hotels, spas, and restaurants. All in all,
it will benefit all the tourism industry and follow the Thai government’s strategy of promoting Thailand as the ‘Medical Hub of Asia’.”
The three marketing campaigns will start this month. The first, the “Medical Tourism Blogger Contest” campaign, will be officially
launched in October. It is a competition for bloggers to promote Medical Tourism in Thailand with the best invited on medical visits to
various places especially on Koh Samui. Prizes are valued at more than USD 25,000 in cash and vouchers. Joining the competition
is easy, for details visit: www.Medblogcontest.com. TAT will launch the “Healthy Beauty Holiday in Thailand ” in November. This
sales promotion will offer exclusive rates for dental treatments, Lasik corrective surgery, cosmetic surgery, holistic and anti-aging
treatments, and medical checkups. For this campaign, TAT has joined hands with partners, including Royal Orchid Plus (ROP),
which will offer 1,000 mileage bonus points when booking medical services under the campaign. Well-known websites will also take
part, including www.asiawebdirect.com, www.phuket.com, and www.bangkok.com. Then, from December 2010, the “You are in
Good Hands” campaign will debut and emphasize the credibility and safety of the medical services offered on Koh Samui. –

New English nursery for Thais and expats                                                    Samui Express November 2010
Less than a year old, British Samui Academy is slowly making its presence felt on the island as a quality education center for
children aged six and below. The English nursery school caters not only to children of expats but also to those of the rising Thai
middle-class. People used to believe that the cost of sending preschool children to a good English-language school on the island
was prohibitive. When they learned about the Academy, they found their impression exaggerated. Located a few meters off Ghost
Road in Bangrak, the Academy has English as its first language. But unlike most international schools, its fees are not that
expensive. Dave Covey, honorary British consul to Samui and a father of two young sons, says he plans to enroll his children at the
Academy. The school has a well spread out environment, he adds, and English is spoken as the first language.
“It’s ideal as a home school and the cost is affordable,” Covey says. Joe, a bar owner in Chaweng, also likes the fact that he can
send his four-year old boy to a school that is not so crowded and where he can learn a decent level of English without making a big
hole in the pocket. John Dennis, a local businessman, and his wife Jun operates the school with the help of another parent, Chris
Langley. The school, he says, is not here to make a profit. They started it, he says, to give expats as well as Thai parents a place for
their children to have fun and learn English in a way that is easy on their pockets. Dennis says the school’s location is part of a six-rai
development originally earmarked as an international school. The project was mothballed and “the Thai owner of the property was
very kind enough to allow us to use the facility.” Two teachers, Khun Arlyn and Khun Or, and an assistant teacher take care of the
12 students presently enrolled in the school. Dennis says that with the inquiries they’re getting from other parents, they are now
looking to expand as more students are expected to enroll next semester. Classes normally start from 8 in the morning and end at
4:30 in the afternoon. The school hours are broken into 30 minutes for circle, 15 minute-snack, 30 minutes play time, depending on
the weather, and then the Art class where smaller kids play blocks. Lunch break follows and nap time before the afternoon class
where English, Math and Art are taken up for 30 minutes each. Swimming is every Wednesday.

What shall we do with the trash?—Surapong                                                    Samui Express November 2010
SAMUI Deputy Mayor Surapong Viriyanon has expressed alarm over the increasing number of unprocessed garbage on the island,
and feared the municipality might not be able to cope with its proper disposal. He said that every day around 15,000 tons of garbage
could not be fed to the incinerator due to its limited capacity. However, the real cause for worry, he said, is the lack of consciousness
among residents on garbage segregation, as a result of which lots of wet garbage were being sent to the incinerator, causing it to
conk out. He explained that the high humidity ratio of the wet garbage causes the incinerator to degenerate. “We can’t bring the
humid waste to burn anymore as we are afraid that it would make the incinerator become inoperative. We just let the amount of
(unprocessed) garbage –15,000 ton of it – remain in front of us, and what shall we do with this huge trash?” he said.
We have done our best to solve this problem but no matter what high technology we use if the people don’t have any regard for the
environment, we will get stuck in the garbage problem,” Surapong added. He said the municipality would embark on a project that
will educate people starting with the students in 10 schools on the island. The project will provide students with the know-how in the



                                                                                                                                 Page 3 of 6
proper disposal of garbage in their households. Surapong expressed the hope that the project would foster environmental
consciousness among the young people, who would in turn spread the same consciousness to their respective communities.

Severe coconut shortage on Coconut Island                                                       Samui Express November 2010
Koh Samui has been dubbed Coconut Island, but recently the chief of Koh Samui Agriculture Office, Pairat Yeamban, disclosed
that the demand for coconuts on the island is outstripping supply. Mr. Pairat said that the market’s demand for the coconut fruit is
increasing while the supply in the market is down due to the dwindling number of coconut plantations, many of which have become
sites of real-estate and hotel developments. According to Pairat, this is the effect of the tourism industry’s growth. Some small
coconut plantation owners have sold their lands to tourism-business investors, he said. Pairat claimed that 60-70 coconut trees on
Samui are being felled every day, making market demand for coconut milk and other coconut by-products higher than the supply
now. “It takes several years for growing one coconut tree so that it can yield fruits, but it takes only one day to cut it down. When one
of them is cut down, no one cares to replace it by planting another one, so the number of coconut trees is decreased drastically,” he
lamented. Koh Samui’s coconut-plantation area currently is approximately 84,310 rai and it was reported that during the past few
years the number of coconut trees decreased substantially. In the market, a coconut fruit now costs Bt10 while the peeled coconut is
higher-priced at Bt11. Pairat said the pricing of fresh coconut earns higher for the seller today because it used to be priced at Bt4. He
predicted that one day Koh Samui would import coconuts from the mainland or other areas. He urged coconut farmers and other
concerned groups and individuals to consider the issue seriously as he said the coconut tree as the symbol of the island might be on
its way to becoming endangered.

Drainage on Koh Samui needs fixing                                                        Bangkok Post         12 November 2010
SURAT THANI : The drainage system on Koh Samui needs to be fixed after the combined effects of excessive rainwater and
encroachment on its natural water channels resulted in serious flooding, a senior tourism official says. Tourism Association of Koh
Samui president Bannasart Ruangjan said the island district had the Chaweng swamp as its major reservoir and there were four
natural drainage channels that fed into the swamp. Mr Bannasart said some of the channels had been turned into roads and others
had been narrowed by property encroachment. He urged authorities to restore the natural drainage channels to the swamp and
those from the swamp to the sea. He also called for the dredging of the 500-rai swamp, now just 80cm deep. Mr Bannasart said
many parties on Koh Samui had agreed to cooperate on the drainage work but the heavy flooding struck the island first. Low-lying
areas next to Chaweng beach were the hardest hit by flood water last week as excessive property development had blocked their
drainage channels. Flooding has reduced hotel occupancy rates on the island from 40% to 50% to less than 20%.
The president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, Ruangnam Jaikwang, estimated the flood damage to hotels on
Koh Samui to be up to 300 million baht. He said floods damaged swimming pools, lobbies, kitchens and ground floor rooms of
hotels.

Govt to spend Bt840 million to improve drainage system on Samui                          The Nation        13 November 2010
Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwankhiri said Thursday that the government will spend Bt840 million to improve drainage system
on the popular tourist destination Samui Island.
He said the improvement, which will be done next year, will prevent flooding on Samui for 20 years.

Bangkok Airways donates 1M for Samui flood mitigation                                     Press Release      24 November 2010
Bangkok Airways recently donated one million Baht fund to Koh Samui Municipality to help mitigate the severity of flood problem on
the island. The airline representative, M.L.Nandhika Varavarn, Vice President for Corporate Communications, ( Middle) presented
the donation to Mr. Ramnate Jaikwang, the Mayor of Koh Samui, (Second from the left) at the office of Koh Samui Municipality.
In addition, Bangkok Airways’ staff and passengers also jointly donated a total amount of 34,230 Baht in cash for this good cause as
well.

‘Baht - not floods - is driving away guests’                                                Samui Express 20 November 2010
Torrential rains struck the island recently causing floods which submerged major roads and parts of busy Chaweng and other areas.
But Ruangnam Jaikwang, chairman of the Thailand South East Hotel Association, believes the flooding won’t have any lasting
effects on Samui’s tourism. Mr. Ruangnam told the NNT that although the inundation had inconvenienced tourists and residents
alike, it won’t have any impact on tourist arrivals in the coming months. He explained that people across the globe realize that floods
and storms do happen occasionally and that their effects are short-lived. The reason why there is a current dearth of tourists,
according to him, is that October and early November are traditionally low tourist-season period. The biggest problem the local
tourism industry faces, Mr. Ruangnam said, is not the recent flooding but the rapid strengthening of the baht, the Thai currency,
which has risen to about 29 to a US dollar, from 33 about this time last year. “The very strong baht, not the floods, is driving tourists
away,” he said, “as this has made Thai accommodation, food, transportation and other things expensive.” The Samui flooding, which
happened early this month, wreaked havoc on businesses and residential houses, and stranded tourists. It caused power outages
across the island and halted airport and ferry services Nov. 3 and 4. The government news service, NNT, reported that hundreds of
Samui-bound tourists were stranded in Phuket due to the temporary closure of the Samui International Airport. Chaweng was the
hardest hit on the island with roads around Chaweng Lake under knee-deep or more than waist-high water. A long stretch of the
Chaweng Beach road was rendered impassable by floodwater. A portion of Lamai ring road was also inundated, cutting off vehicular
traffic. In Maenam, vehicles had to navigate through a portion of the ring road submerged in rainwater coming down from the
mountains. Some houses in villages were submerged more than knee-deep. Chaweng Noi also experienced flooding as the rush of

                                                                                                                               Page 4 of 6
rainwater from the mountain deluged a portion of the ring road, stalling traffic. Other parts of the island, however, were not as badly
affected. Most parts of the ring road from Bang Po, Ban Tai, Ban Makham, Nathon, Lipa Noi and up to Lamai, were passable even at
the height of the heavy downpour. To help flood victims, District Chief Sakchai Jor Phalit,with help from members of the Koh Samui
Red Cross Society led by Thanomsri Rattanaraksa, set up relief centers on Soi Maenam Resort in Maenam and in other remote
areas of the island. Volunteers from Samui International Tourism College oft he Suratthani Rajabat University helped man the relief
centers. Apart from Samui, several other provinces in the South, including Hat Yai and Songkla, were inundated.

Villagers vow to fight drugs                                                               Samui Express 22 November 2010
THE Koh Samui Municipality and the 4th Army Region are joining hands to from people’s awareness networks around the island.
Mayor Ramnet Jaikwang said these networks would be tapped in the fight against drug proliferation and use. He said members of
these networks will be trained in the use of CB radio communications to share information and coordinate activities among
themselves. Public consultations have been done about the project, the mayor said. In line with this plan, people’s awareness
networks will be organized in each of the municipality’s seven tambons (sub-districts) and seven villages.
These networks will draw their respective action plans on fighting drugs consistent with existing local and national policies.
However, they will have to coordinate closely with the local police department to ensure a unified approach to the island’s drug
problems.

Constitutional amendments                                                                      courtesy of http://tambon.blogspot.com/
Posted: 24 Nov 2010 04:09 AM PST
Yesterday and today both the Senate and the House of Representatives have discussed several proposed amendments to the 2007
constitution. At the time of writing this posting I don't know yet any details on if and which of the amendments will get added to the
constitution, most of the news articles are rather skeptical any of these amendments will make it. Out of the proposed amendments,
the ones on the election system for the House of Representatives are the ones which fit within the scope of this blog. I had
mentioned one major item already when it was first proposed by the constitutional reform panel - the return to the single seat
constituencies introduced with the 1997 constitution.

The relevant articles of the constitution are 93 to 98, which right now call for 480 MPs - 400 from constituencies with up to three
seats, and 80 party list MPs elected in eight regions with 10 MPs each. The proposal made by the government would change this to
500 MPs - 375 from a single seat constituencies and 125 from a single nationwide party list.

As since I posted on those changes last time I had finished reading the book "Myths and Realities: The Democratization of Thai
Politics" I have now much more background on the rationale for introducing the single-seated constituencies it first place. The main
idea was to strengthen the role of political parties, which traditionally are nothing but a loose grouping of individual politicians, who
easily switch their party alliance whenever they see a political (or even monetary) gain from it. The multi seat constituencies are
thought to support the factionalism, as each group of contenders running under the same party label in one constituency easily form
the basis of a faction with one leader and two followers who strongly depend on their leader and thus support him after they are
elected. However, in a single-seat constituency each candidate would be on his own, and thus would be more a party member than
a faction member. Well, that was the theory, but during Thaksins terms there still were many factions within his Thai Rak Thai party,
mostly held together by his money, the prospect of political power, but also because changing parties shortly before new elections
was made more difficult.
But as these factions were existing since the end of the absolute monarchy, sometimes as factions with in parliament, sometimes as
factions within cabinet, and the 1997 constitution didn't really change much on it, I have no hope the return to single-seat
constituencies or the increase of number of party list MPs will have any significant effect now. Maybe the proposal made by Michael
H. Nelson in 2007 of using the election system from Germany would change more - half of the MPs in Germany are direct
candidates from constituencies to have the close relationship between electorate and candidate, yet the number of seat of each
party in parliament only depends on the party list votes, with party list MPs filling up the seats available for each party not yet
covered by direct candidates. But I doubt that the Thai parties are ready for such a change, as they would need a real program of
policies prior to the elections - and banning whole parties and their leading politicians for illegal acts done by single executive
members does help them to get strong enough for such a voting system.

Govt warns: Samui faces power crisis                                             Samui Express                29 November 2010
Samui faces a severe power crisis due to increased demand, especially during the high tourist season.
Mr. Noppong Vichaidit, chief of the Network Operation Department of the Provincial Electricity Authority, Region 2, met recently with
the island’s civic and business leaders to brief them about the current power situation and at the same time solicit their help in finding
solution to the power shortage. During the meeting, held at the Koh Samui Municipality, Mr. Noppong said the demand for electrical
power from December this year to January next year would be higher than any period of the year. This could lead, he said, to a
severe shortage that could lead to outages or power rationing, adding it was necessary for everybody to adopt energy-saving
measures. Mr. Noppong said Samui’s power consumption had been going up steadily due to tourism growth. “We are really
concerned that the demand for electrical power in December will be too high that we cannot deal with it,” he said. “What we can only
do now is to save and reduce unnecessary use of energy.” He suggested that bigger hotels should have UPS or an uninterruptible
power supply in hand to provide emergency power when supply from the mains drops. Noppong said the Authority would also



                                                                                                                                Page 5 of 6
reimburse hotels with UPS for gasoline and breakage costs as these equipment help the island save energy. The impending power
crisis has prompted Samui Mayor Ramnet Jaikwang to give the planned second powerhouse project in Maenam a serious look.
This project would require the installation of 22-meter electrical poles to link the lines from the first powerhouse in Ban Phanga.
These lines would pass Hau Thanon ,Lamai, Chaweng and Maenam -- a total distance of 36 kilometers, the mayor said.
Many people opposed the project in the past saying the presence of towering electrical poles could spoil the island’s landscape.
The mayor said the project would be closely reviewed as it seemed to be the best option to the current power problem.
“We will bring up this topic in future public meetings so people can discuss its pros and cons and perhaps appreciate the
merits of the project,” Mr. Ramnet said.

Floods, rains big boon to spas                                                       Samui Express               29 November 2010
While the recent flooding caused untold damage to most of the island’s businesses, it proved to be a boon to Samui’s spa industry.
Walwalee Tantikan, chairman of the Samui Spa Association, said that during the heavy rains that led to the flooding most of the
island’s spas enjoyed brisk business. She said that since tourists could not go out to the beach or go sightseeing because of the
rains and the floods, they ended up at spas. Most of the spas and massage shops were fully booked and, in certain cases, had long
queues, Walwalee said. She agreed that basically the situation had returned to normal on the island, with much of the floodwaters
having receded. She also expects tourists to come back in due time. In fact, Walwalee said, the situation is now “more normal when
compared to last year’s. ”But she wished the floodwaters were drained on time to give tourists and locals that sense of being in total
control, in the process inspiring confidence among them. The severe floods that hit the eastern provinces of southern Thailand had
cost the country at least Bt10 billion in tourism revenues, according to Poramet Amartayakul, director of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand, southern region. Poramet said TAT is now working with various tourism organizations to speed up the recovery and restore
tourism in these parts of the country. The first campaign is a bus caravan scheduled Dec. 9-12. Travel agents will be shown how life
has returned to normal in places where flooding had occurred, especially Haad Yai and Suratthani. He said southern Thailand sees
approximately 90 million tourists annually, 14 million of whom are foreigners. He however pointed out that the natural disaster does
not have much impact on the number of tourists this year as it this happened towards the end of the year. In fact, he said, number of
tourists in the South, especially Phuket, could go up by 20% this year compared to last year despite the flooding. To back his claim,
he pointed to the 30 percent increase in tourist traffic from Finnish and Nordic markets this year, adding that tourism operators
expect positive figures until the end of April next year , the end of high tourist season for the Andaman region on the west coast of
southern Thailand.

Remembrance service held on Samui for fallen UK servicemen                       Samui Express                   29 November 2010
SAMUI residents and members of the British ex-service community paid their respects to their fallen comrades from the United
Kingdom and Commonwealth countries in the second annual service of remembrance held Nov. 14 at the Elephant & Castle in
Bangrak. Gurkhas march at the start of the Service of Remembrance for their fallen comrades held in Bangrak recently.
The service was attended by around 40 people, including former members of all UK armed services -- the Royal Navy, Royal
Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and their families. Andrew McCartney opened the service. Wally Smith read the dedication before
wreaths were laid by British Honorary Consul Dave Covey on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and by Bob Keen on behalf of the
Armed Forces. This was followed by the last post, two minutes of silence and reveille. Mick Grover concluded the service with the
dedication. After the service, people had the opportunity to dedicate wooden crosses in the sand to commemorate friends, family
members or loved ones before a collective toast (port) was proposed by landlord Mark Kinnard to “absent friends”.
Mr. Kinnard and Mr. Keen have been instrumental in bringing this annual event to Koh Samui, along with the Poppy Appeal. The
annual event first started at the Elephant & Castle in 2005. These former members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces living in Samui
and nearby islands meet informally once a month for banter, camaraderie and self help on matters like veterans affairs, entitlements
to service and war disability pensions, medals, etc. They had seen service in all major theaters in the last 40 years including
Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, the Gulf War 90-91, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hotel occupancy down to under 20%                                                Samui Express                 29 November 2010
HOTEL occupancy in Samui has plummeted to less than 20 percent, from 40-50 percent in October, as a result of the severe
flooding in early November, tourism industry sources say. Photos of an island covered with muddy water appearing in newspapers
and the Internet were enough to dissuade people from coming and cancelling their bookings, they add. The president of the
southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, Ruangnam Jaikwang, was quoted saying the flood cost hotels on Koh Samui up to
Bt300 million in actual damages alone. The floods damaged swimming pools, lobbies, kitchens and ground floor rooms of hotels.
The cost could rise to billions of baht in terms of unearned income. Bannasart Ruangjam, president of the Tourism Association of
Koh Samui, has urged the government to fix the island’s drainage system to reduce the chances of flooding, which he attributed to
excessive rainwater made worse by clogged and/or encroached natural water channels. Bannasart has told the media that some of
the natural drainage channels that fed into Chaweng lake had been turned into roads or narrowed through encroachment by property
developers. The lake is the island’s major reservoir and four natural drainage channels feed into it. Bannasart said that the natural
drainage channels to the lake and those that feed water to the sea should be cleared and restored to ensure that water would drain
quickly during heavy rains. He also called for the dredging of the 500-rai Chaweng Lake, which he claimed has shallowed to just
about 80cm deep. Bannasart said various groups and stakeholders on the island had agreed to help in various forms a planned
drainage work but the heavy flooding struck the island first. Low-lying areas next to Chaweng beach were the hardest hit by
floodwaters recently as excessive property development had blocked its drainage channels



                                                                                                                            Page 6 of 6

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:202
posted:12/2/2010
language:English
pages:6