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Showing posts with label Impact. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Impact. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#Bangkok in danger of flooding unless old drainage improved, say academics.


BANGKOK will not be safe from the severe impact of major storms unless there is a huge improvement in the capital’s drainage system and canal network, academics have warned as more heavy rain is predicted for the capital.


A group of academics on water management, disaster prevention and city planning said at a public seminar at Chulalongkorn University yesterday that Bangkok’s drainage system was old, poorly maintained and unable to drain the water adequately, which increases the risk of Bangkok being severely flooded if another storm hits.

Thailand Global Warming Academy director Thanawat Charupongsakul said that Bangkok lacked the preparedness to cope with a storm. The widespread flooding in 55 areas of the city last Saturday showed that Bangkok could not withstand even a portion of the deluge and it took a day to drain the floodwater.

“It is not frequent for Bangkok to be directly hit by tropical storm, but the city is situated on the storm route and was hit directly several times in the past, such as in 1952 and 1983,” Thanawat said.

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He said that the precipitation within a six-hour period on Saturday night exceeded 214 millimetres and broke a 10-year record. 

If the rain was measured per hour, it was only 40 millimetres, which was within Bangkok’s drainage capacity, but it still flooded and showed the inability of the system to handle the volume, he said.

He warned that Bangkok will suffer badly from flooding if a storm hits the city directly with up to 300 millimetres of rain per hour.
“Bangkok’s sewage system is already more than 30 years old. It is suffering from a lack of maintenance, land sinking problems, and garbage and sediment clogging, which greatly reduce the drainage capacity,” Thanawat said.

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“Moreover, the construction of a floodwall along the Chao Phraya River also increases the water level in the river higher than the water level in the drainage system and canals, which makes the water drainage to the river hard and slow,” he said.

He also pointed out that the lack of separation between sewage from households and rainwater drainage also hinders drainage, because more than 10 million citizens in Bangkok release around 6 million cubic metres of wastewater into the system every day.

Terdkiat Sakkhamduang , the former chairman of Thai Urban Designers Association, suggested that Bangkok’s drainage system has to be entirely improved and the city plan also has to be revised.

Water pumps ready

“We have learned a lesson from the flaws in Bangkok’s city plan that prioritise too much in replacing canals with expanding the road network. We should learn from our past and restore the canals, as the canal network can drain water far better than the sewage system,” Terdkiat said.

Bangkok governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang warned yesterday that Bangkok would face more heavy rains overnight, which may be as severe as the downpour last Saturday. He said Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had prepared for the downpour by getting the water pumps ready and lowering the water level in the canals.
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  Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda also affirmed that Bangkok residents should not be worried over the potential danger of flooding from northern run-offs, as the Royal Irrigation Department was in control of water in dams and 12 water-retention fields in upstream areas could absorb floodwater before it reached the capital. 

Chai Nat’s Chao Phraya Dam was currently receiving about 2,500 cubic metres of water per second, which was in balance with the level it released, he said.

Source - TheNation 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thai start-up wins place on Booking.com’s booster program

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Booking.com recently announced the top 10 finalists for its Booster Program focusing on sustainable tourism and one of the lucky participants is Local Alike, a Thai online travel platform that provides travel experiences around Southeast Asia.

The aim of the programme is to identify, mentor and fund enterprising start-ups from around the world that are seeking to have a positive impact on the global tourism industry.
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The 10 selected ventures will participate in a three-week program in June in Amsterdam that culminates with a chance to make a pitch to a panel of Booking.com and industry experts for grants of up to Bt19 million from Booking.com.
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“We are so impressed with the amazing diversity and quality of applications that we received for the Booking.com Booster Program. The incredible passion and genuinely innovative business concepts we saw from start-ups from practically every corner of the globe was truly inspiring,” says Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.
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 “I can’t wait get to know these 10 start-ups better and see how we can help them to accelerate their growth plans in order to bring their vision for sustainable tourism to even more destinations around the world.”
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Nearly 700 start-ups from 102 countries applied to the programme, Local Alike will be joined by other nine teams from the United States, India, the Netherlands, Russia and Italy.
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Local Alike exists as two business entities: Local Alike Travel tour company operates community-based tourism tours in Thailand and soon across Southeast Asia and Local Alike website is a sustainable tourism online marketplace where travellers around the world can find local and authentic experiences.
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“After four years in the business, we succeeded in developing 70 communities in Thailand and this year we are expanding into communities in Vietnam and India. What makes us unique is that we establish long-term partnerships with local communities. We bring in more income and educate them to optimise resources from tourism to further develop their societies. We encourage them to fix community issues from the root cause,” says Somsak Boonkam, founder of Local Alike. 
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“What we are most excited about is to personally connect with other like-minded fellows from the other nine teams, as well as the team at Booking.com.” 
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Saturday, November 19, 2016

THAILAND - KINGDOM GRIEVES

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PM urges loyalty to Rama X
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 Prayut says people must always remember His Majesty the late King Bhumibol; plans special activities on Tuesday.
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 Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday urged Thais to show their allegiance to the next royal head of state while still remembering the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“We have to do more good deeds in memory of His Majesty the King. I believe His Majesty is still with us somewhere – in the sky, in the water or on the land that he helped restore and preserve. I ask everyone to always remember His Majesty,” Prayut said.
“And also, we should show our allegiance to the next king, Rama X,” he added, referring to the 10th monarch of the Chakri Dynasty.
The prime minister was speaking to local residents and officials during his visit to Pathum Thani, where he inspected a royal project and the progress of a water management plan.
He said the Thais should also look outward in order to deal with global problems that have an impact on the country.
“The world has several issues involving the economy, terrorism, natural disasters, epidemics and changes. We need to look at the outside world, and not just at ourselves. I admire the way we deal with internal problems. We have achieved satisfactory success but I hope we will do better,” General Prayut said.
“We have to work together to overcome the obstacles,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government has called on all Thais to join nationwide activities to be held on Tuesday in memory of the late King.
Government House will be the main venue for the activity, to be led by PM Prayut. People from all over the country can take part at designated venues in their respective provinces, Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
“The prime minister would lead his Cabinet members and government officials to sing the National Anthem at 8am on Tuesday. Then he will lead the participants to take an oath of allegiance in front of His Majesty’s portrait and sing the Royal Anthem,” said Sansern.
The spokesman said the event at Government House would be broadcast live from 6.30am. Thais living abroad can hold commemorative activities on Sunday or |any day of their convenience, he added.
Mourners heading to the Grand Palace to bid a final farewell to the monarch can also join the PM-led activity, as the city administration will arrange a venue for the participants, Prime Minister’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said.
“The additional activity at Sanam Luang will not affect the mourners queuing to enter the Grand Palace,” Suwapan, who also serves as secretary of the government’s Command Centre for Monitoring Situations, told a press briefing yesterday.
Regarding traffic management, of the 27 roads around Sanam Luang that were closed on previous weekends, only eight will be closed today and tomorrow, Suwapan said. The decision came after the centre assessed traffic volume in the area and found no mass event being held near the Grand Palace this weekend which could obstruct transportation for the mourners, he explained.
Suwapan asked people not to park their vehicles along roads around Sanam Luang and instead use public transportation or free shuttle buses to travel to the Grand Palace.
Deputy national police spokesman Pol Maj-General Piyapan Pingmuang yesterday confirmed that only eight roads adjacent to the Grand Palace that were closed to traffic to accommodate mourners would stay off-limits for vehicles.
He said the lifting of 27 road-closures came as “things have fallen into place”.
Updates on the matter are available at the Traffic Police Division’s website, www.trafficpolice.go.th, and its hotline 1197, according to the spokesman. Suwapan yesterday said that in an attempt to manage long queues and the huge numbers of people heading to Sanam Luang, the centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society had finished developing an online reservation system for queue management.
The online system will be tested on December 1, he said, adding the implementation plan has not yet rolled out and is pending further discussion.
Regarding the issue of homeless people around Sanam Luang, Suwapan said their number has decreased due to the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
According to the ministry statement issued yesterday, tactics used to tackle the homeless vary. These include sending them back to their original residence, to th
e ministry shelter Ban Mit Maitree for rehabilitation, or to related organisations for proper treatment.
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Source: TheNation
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thai officials target European visitors to boost 'quality tourism'


Thai tourism officials are renewing their focus on European tourists as they seek to raise the country's "quality tourism" benchmark.

Last year 5.6 million Europeans traveled to Thailand, generating EUR10.3 billion (THB404.4 billion) in revenue, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

And in 2014 European visitors spent more time on average in Thailand compared to any other visitors, with each person staying for 16.4 days and spending around EUR106 (THB4,162) per day.

TAT said it is now aiming to increase tourism revenue from European visitors by 4.38 percent.
“Thailand’s focus now is on enhancing the image of Thailand to be a 'Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess'," said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports.

"At the same time, we need to ensure a balance between tourism growth and its social and environmental impact."

Europeans have played a major role in developing tourism in Thailand, which accounts for about 10 percent of its GDP.

Around 65 percent of European visitors to Thailand make repeat visits.
TAT said it is targeting the European market as part of its agenda to boost "upscale, niche-market" tourism to the country.

That includes luxury travel options and niche holidays like weddings and honeymoons, spas and wellness, sports tourism and community-based attractions.

“There are more travelers who want to join sport activities in Thailand, so now we are ready to pair tourism and sports into one," said Kobkarn.

"Sports such as Muay Thai boxing, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, marathons, golf, tennis and sailing are widely available in the country with highly skilled tuition and support services.”

Source: Coconuts

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thai tourism: Another victim of the bomb?

The remarkable resilience of the hospitality industry is facing its sternest challenge yet.


 When Thailand's new deputy prime minister overseeing economic and foreign affairs, Somkid Jatusripitak, delivered his first major public policy address last week, the news was far from good.

Investigations had so far proven unsuccessful in finding who was behind the bombing at the Erawan Shrine, and the short-term economic consequences continue to be felt. More than 20 nations and territories have issued travel advisories or warnings for their citizens traveling to Thailand. Hotels, as well as tour operators, are reporting cancellations.

And now, the latest economic data has Thai exports shrinking for the seventh consecutive month. Overall exports from Thailand from January to July are now down 4.66 per cent. In June, the country had the worst monthly contraction since 2011 - a 7.87 per cent year-on-year decline.

Yet in this nation famously known for looking on the bright side, Somkid has declared that the economy is merely weak, not in crisis. This is to be no repeat of the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Five years since violent street protests and the worst floods to hit Thailand in 50 years brought about dire predictions for the nation's tourism industry, the purveyors of economic doom are back. Pessimistic views compete with images from the nation's longstanding "Amazing Thailand" tourism promotions.

Worries continue about the impact of the bombing on the all important inward bound travel market. Chinese travellers now make up about a quarter of all foreign tourists in Thailand annually, with the Erawan Shrine and the surrounding shopping district a popular destination. More than 4 million visitors from China travelled to Thailand in the first six months of this year alone, and those numbers were expected to continue to rise.

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb attack, equities related to tourism, transport and distribution, given Thailand's key role as a regional logistics hub, were particularly hard hit. The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index experienced its worst one-day decline in more than a year. The baht also has fallen to six-year lows to the US dollar.

Responsible for about 10 per cent of Thailand's gross domestic product, the nation's vital tourism industry had been one of the few economic bright spots for Southeast Asia's second-largest economy. And yet amid the gloom and the near-term chill on Thailand's markets, one lesson from past crises in this Land of Smiles is that the Thai tourism sector will survive and once again thrive.

CEO Kevin Beauvais of GLOW Hotels & Resorts, with operations in Thailand and Malaysia and other properties under development in China, Vietnam and the Maldives, underscores this view.

"Thailand is amazingly resilient and still offers some of the best tourism values in the world," says Beauvais, who has lived and worked in Thailand through floods, political turmoil and a succession of governments. "In spite of Monday's [August 17] incident, Bangkok remains one of the safest cities in the world," he adds. "People will always come back for the sun, sand [and] sea."


 Bouncing back

Tourism numbers in recent years support this view. Bangkok has continued along with London to take one of the top two spots in the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index for the last five years. That index ranks 132 destination cities around the world in terms of total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending.

Bangkok's draw remained despite some of the worst street violence in Thailand's recent history.

In May 2010, large parts of Bangkok were paralysed by weeks of anti-government demonstrations. Rioting and violence spread, leading to the declaration of Bangkok's first night curfew in 15 years.

Thailand's largest shopping complex was set ablaze. A television station and the stock exchange, among others, were attacked. More than 70 people lost their lives.

Then, as now, dire warnings followed about the nation's tourism industry. Today, a gleaming new and expanded CentralWorld shopping mall complex has emerged from the embers as one of Bangkok's most visited destinations.

And, just a few months later, in October and November 2010, Thailand was hit by one of the worst calamities in five decades. Floods killed hundreds, inundated homes and factories, closed airports and roads, and stranded tourists and residents across the country. Dire predictions about the tourism sector also ensued as hotel occupancy rates plummeted and expenditures by visitors declined.

Few international visitors also may now remember that four years earlier, on December 31, 2006, during the New Year's countdown, bombings in Bangkok left at least 40 dead or injured.

So, what lies ahead for Thailand's enduring travel and tourism industry?

Dan Fraser, co-founder of Smiling Albino, a leading luxury adventure tour company in the Kingdom, says: "Bookings will take a very short-term hit, like the markets, but will bounce back. Thailand is resilient and has a history of bouncing back… so we don't expect anything more than a temporary blip."

Short of a sustained campaign of bombings, which would wreak havoc with any nation's tourism sector, Thailand will more than recover from the Erawan Shrine tragedy. That event is unlikely to have a long-lasting impact on the nation's still lacklustre economy or investor sentiment, already weighed down by Thailand's continued political uncertainties.

Other major travel destinations have withstood much worse attacks - including the resort island of Bali, the focus of bombings in 2002 and 2005, and New York in September 2001. The Erawan Shrine has reopened, vigilance is up, and the nearby Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok hotel, which experienced some minor damage in the Monday explosion, is in full operation at this time, says Hyatt area vice president and hotel general manager Gordon Fuller.

With exports continuing to contract, falling consumer sentiment, a drought-stricken agricultural sector and a persistent political divide, the resilience of the nation's tourism sector should be among the least of the worries facing Thailand's newly installed economic team.

Indeed, that so much focus has been placed on the Erawan Shrine bombing's possible impact on tourism is itself a testament to the sector's ability to bounce back. It has done so in the past, and will do so again.


Source: The Nation
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