AGODA

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#Macao International Dragon Boat Races, 2017

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Macao is a Chinese special administrative area located about one hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong, where its 30-square-kilometer area is packed with East-meets-West cultural fusion. 

Portuguese-Cantonese heritage-imbued nuances colors every corner of the two islands and peninsula that make up the area. The old and the new mesh between the bright city lights and old-town squares of Macao. 

Home to a unique combination of Cantonese-Portuguese elements, Macao's vibrant cultural heritage often falls in the shadows of its blinding city lights and glittering chandeliers inside its grand hotel hallways.  

 
The Chinese special administrative area, which is infused with European roots across its 30-square-kilometer land, is located a short hour-long ferry ride from Hong Kong. 
Its preserved history still evident in the nooks and crannies across the city, while clusters of lavish hotel complexes, most of which host extensive casino grounds and luxurious shopping malls, greet guests upon arrival. 

is admirable about Macao’s tourism strategy is that the administration tries hard to maintain not only gaming but also tourism as its economic backbones. From having well-maintained historical buildings, hosting movie events, entertainment and world-class live performances, Macao clearly wants to expand its image.

According to Macao’s official website, http://en.Macaotourism.gov.mo/index.php, there will be 2017 Macao International Dragon Boat Races in Macao. The event will be held from May 27 to 30.

The House of Dancing Water live aquatic show in the City of Dreams in Cotai is one example. Built in a permanent venue called the Dancing Water Theater, the most expensive show in Macao features a love story, spectacular stage, music, dances, acrobatics and martial arts. With a 2,000-seat capacity and a pool holding more than five times the volume of an Olympic swimming pool, it is dubbed the world’s biggest water-based show.

When the show was first launched in 2010, people wondered whether it could create a new image of Macao. But now seven years have passed in a blink and the show that was created and directed by Franco Dragone of Cirque du Soleil continues to be successful.  

Macao also uses the appeal of the film industry to attract movie buffs. It is not unusual to hear someone say that want to visit the shooting locations of their favorite films – from the hugely popular South Korean Drama Boys Before Flowers to Now You See Me 2. Last year, the region hosted the first International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM), celebrating cinema and featuring international and Asian movie debuts.

If you want to go around the city, just hop on the free shuttle bus widely available at hotels to reach the center of attractions downtown. Public buses also ply as many as 18 different routes. 
Macao comprises the Macao peninsula and the two islands of Taipa and Coloane. The peninsula and Taipa are connected by three bridges, while Taipa and Coloane are linked by the 2.2-kilometer Taipa-Coloane Causeway.
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Araya Hargate does #Thailand proud in Cannes

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Popular British-Thai actress Araya “Chompoo” A Hargate wrapped her chic maternity moments on the red carpet at the 70th Cannes Film Festival with compliments pouring in from fans as well as the world's fashion bibles.

Vogue.com wrote: “With celebrities from all over the world vying for attention, it can be hard to stand out – but there’s no fashion challenge that Araya “Chompoo” Hargate can’t handle.” 

RedCarpet-FashionAwards.com added further praise, writing: “Araya’s look was all about bringing drama to the carpet, from the oversized peplum, to the sultry sheer skirt, the opera gloves and Chopard high jewellery collection pieces. This is a worthy look for Cannes..”

The actress was also selected as having one of the best looks at Cannes 2017 by Vanity Fair.

For her final appearance on the red carpet for the screening of “The Meyerowitz Stories” on Sunday night, Araya stunned the crowd by showing off her five-month baby bump in a couture gown created by French atelier, Alexis Mabille complete with a quilted red cape that trailed behind her. The brand ambassador for L’Oreal Paris (Thailand) was made up on the theme “Flawless Finale”. 

 Chopard’s diamonds completed the look and ensured Araya looked every bit the star. 
Araya has certainly turned heads at this year’s festival thanks to impeccable styling and close collaboration with fashion magazine, L’Officiel Thailand. 

For the premiere of “Ismael’s Ghosts”, Araya wore a white Ralph and Russo dress with a silk cape covered with crystals and ostrich feathers. 

For “Loveless”, Araya was attired in a black Olivier Theysken gown that was the perfect complement to the sapphire and diamonds of Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection.

And Araya’s happiness at walking down the staircase with her husband Visrut “Nott” Rangsisingpipat was evident as she brought an added glow to the voluminous gown in fuchsia by Zuhair Murad paired with Chopard’s diamond-drop earrings to the premiere of “120 Beats Per Minute”.

Source - TheNation

Thursday, May 18, 2017

North Maluku preps Widi Island as maritime destination

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Widi Island in South Halmahera, North Maluku, is set to be promoted as a maritime destination to attract more tourists to the region.

"It will also host the International Fishing Tournament slated for October, which will be officially opened by President Joko Widodo," said South Halmahera Tourism, Youth and Sports Agency head Nur Kamarullah in Ternate, North Maluku, on Wednesday.

Around 100 anglers from across the globe have registered to participate in the tournament.
The island itself is currently undergoing major develop. According to Antara news agency, Widi is quite popular among foreign tourists and is often dubbed the Maldives of Indonesia.


 "Widi Island is the future of South Halmahera's tourism. The agency has promoted this destination at various events, including the diving exhibition in Jakarta, the Legu Gam Festival in North Maluku, as well as tourism events in Yogyakarta and Batam," said Kamarullah.

A culinary and cultural festival reportedly will be held during the upcoming fishing tournament.

Widi Island is home to various natural attractions, including Tauno Bay and Santari Bay. 
 
Source - TheJakartaPost

#Myanmar, (Burma) Golf tourism needs long drive out of bunkers.

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Myanmar is far from a golf tourist destination despite having many courses in different cities, said U Phyo Wai Yar Zar, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Federation.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times, he said that golf tourism has a potential niche market but the local courses are not up to the expectations of international golfers.

“We have to try hard if we want to make Myanmar a golfing destination. We can count the number of courses that are of international standard. But that number cannot be compared with other regional countries which have already developed the game and facilities,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.

There are no more than 10 tour agencies offering packages, including golfing.
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In Vietnam, there are 32 international courses. Myanmar has about 60 courses in the whole country.

Daw Su Su Tin, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee, said, “Some tourists have tried golf courses in neighboring countries. A few tours operators are offering a golf program in their itinerary but we cannot promote golfing tourism too much.”

“Myanmar has fine weather, not as expensive as other countries and has a huge potential for golf tourism development,” she said.

U Phyo Wai Yar Zar added, “People know Myanmar as a cultural tourism centre. Perhaps now is the time to promote traditional sport related tourism like chinlone (caneball) and other Myanmar sporting events.”
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“Chinlone as a sporting event cannot be found in other countries. Relevant government departments should make it popular as a tourism product,” he said.

“Also, the golfing market is for high-end tourists who are mostly big spenders. Other facilities such as high-end restaurants and amenities need to be developed,” he said.

Currently, there are no more than six or seven international fine dining restaurants in Yangon.
U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said, “We should first get the primary requirements done up and then continue with other things,” he said.


“As I know, there’s no website, specific market figures on golfing for tourists. Concerned authorities need to build up the human capital first and the required infrastructure before promoting golf as a product,” he said.

“We have no information yet about the various courses and it is hard to find out who are those interested in golfing in Myanmar. Golfing is the best way to attract visitors as part of tourism,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.
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Source - mmtimes
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Monday, May 15, 2017

#Thailand - New safety rules for public transport vans enforced.

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The Land Transport Department has begun enforcing strict safety rules targeting public transport vans - including a 13-passenger limit.

The rules also require vans to have an emergency exit that can be opened from the inside with a visible, reflective Thai sign identifying it, a 20 centimetre-wide walking space to reach the emergency exit and at least three glass-breaking hammers on the left, the right and the back of vans.
Van operators who fail to comply with the rules face fines of Bt500 to Bt5,000 and having their license suspended for up to six months.
On the first day of enforcement of the new rules on Monday, in which fines were capped at Bt500, many vans at Bangkok's Victory Monument complied with the requirements. 
Reducing the seating capacity from 15 seat to 13 aims to ensure there is enough space for passengers to quickly reach the emergency exit.
The department will also require fixed-route vans in Bangkok and elsewhere to submit their vehicles for an inspection and registration check on June 5 or July 5. 
Chartered vans will be inspected on August 5. 
Those who fail to comply face a maximum fine, the department warned.
Source - TheNation
Ps,  13 persons exclusive luggage is anyway to much.
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Thailand - Detained TAO chief ‘not involved’ in Pattani bombing, released.

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The chief of a Tambon Organisation Administration (TAO) has been released after investigation showed he had no involvement in the attack at the Big C department store in Pattani province last week, a source said on Sunday.

The identity of the TAO chief in Pattani’s Nong Chik district was never publicly revealed.
He was detained after the attack on May 9, which injured 80 people.

The source said that seven people, including a religious leader – Su-hai-mee Sama-e – and five other local residents had been detained for interrogation for alleged links to the robbery of a pickup and the killing of the vehicle’s owner.

On May 13, five youths were detained in Nong Chik district after they were found near a spot where suspect Su-hai-mee allegedly rigged a stolen pickup with explosives.

Sourse - TheNation
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Crackdown on illegal waterway structures ‘too harsh, conflicts with Thai way of life’

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A MARINE Department crackdown on illegal structures built over waterways across the country is too harsh and conflicts with the traditional Thai way of life, according to a leading figure in the fisheries business and an academic.

The department announced recently that all structures deemed illegal would be dismantled and removed, unless the owners obtain retrospective permission by June 22.

The move follows the passing of the latest edition of the Navigation in Thai Waters Act, which includes provision of jail terms of up to three years for offenders.

In cases where permission is granted, owners will have to pay fines at rates of between Bt1,000 and Bt20,000 per square metre. They will also have to pay annual rent based on the area covered.
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 If permission is refused, the |owners will be fined and ordered to demolish their structure. If they fail to comply with this, the Marine Department will remove the structure at the owner’s expense.
Thai Fisheries Association chairman Mongkol Sukchareonkana said such “fierce” law enforcement would have a great impact on the people across the country and harm the fisheries business. 
He said Thai culture and way of life have a strong bond with water, with many traditional houses and businesses built over the waterways.
“All kind of structures over the water will be considered illegal in the eyes of the Marine Department, such as the traditional houses built over the water, piers, fish cages, fishing equipment, or waterside walkways. Many of these structures are built over public land, so the owners cannot ask for permission from the Marine Department and will be forced to dismantle them,” Mongkol said.
“The impact will be so great that, at a minimum, the damage to the economy and people’s way of life will be over Bt10 billion in each province.”
He said that in Samut Songkram alone, thousands of houses in more than 200 canals would be deemed illegal. This includes the Amphawa Floating Market, which under this law will have to be removed too.
He stressed that enforcement of the law in this issue was too harsh and did not consider the way of life and culture of Thai people. He urged the department to reconsider how the law is enforced and extend the timeframe to one year.
“I agree that construction over the waterways must be regulated, but the law should not apply |retrospectively. 
The Marine Department should strictly enforce the law to prevent current encroachment on waterways,” he said.
Marine Department director-general Sorasak Saensombat said the legislation had been in effect for a long time, but currently the government had a policy to strictly enforce the measure.
Sorasak said that if the department found violations of the act, courts could order the owners to pay retrospective fines covering six years from when the crime was discovered. 
A jail term of up to three years had been included in the new version of the law. However, Sorasak stressed that the department would not |prosecute all those in violation of |the Navigation in Thai Waters Act, as there were not enough officers to enforce it. 
It would focus on structures that have a great impact on navigation and people’s movement.
“We have to consider the public benefit first and everyone has to comply with the law. 
If people suffer difficulties from enforcement of this law, there are related agencies that ready to assist them. There are many solutions to the problems from implementation of this law,” he said.
Chulalongkorn University Urban and Regional Planning Department lecturer Nattapong Punnoi said that while he agreed that management of waterfront areas and structures over waterways was important, implementation of the policy should not be the same across the country.
“The restriction of structures over waterways is necessary in an urban area such as Bangkok, so as to improve the environment and prevent floods. But in rural areas, where people still have a strong bond with the river, they should be allowed to keep their traditional way of life on the water,” Nattapong said. He said the government should have a plan to assist people who have to move away from their homes on the water and provide them with proper housing. 
He also cautioned that it would be unacceptable if the government used the reclaimed areas on the water to build new structures that do not fit with good urban planning, such as roads or promenades.
Sorasak said that all structures over waterways including the Chao Phraya Riverside promenade would have to ask the department for |permission first, as official agencies also have to comply with this law.
Source - TheNation