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Trash not treasure: the mounting pile tourists smell but do not see

Recycling Deal Brings Hope for Phuket Trash

Thursday, July 10, 2008
TRENDS
IT'S TIME to take that peg off your nose. Phuket's 19 local governments have finally reached agreement on a common plan to separate and recycle as much of the island's garbage as possible.

Ongart Chonachanmonkol, head of the Phuket Natural Resources and Environment Department, told Phuketwan back in February that too many authorities and other groups on the island were making their own decisions without co-ordination.

The scale of Phuket's waste remains a problem. The island produces 550 tonnes of rubbish each day but the lone incinerator can only cope with 250 tonnes per day.

The rest is dumped near the incinerator in Saphan Hin, Phuket City. Khun Ongart believes the trash mountain is among Phuket's most serious problems.

Pollution outbreaks have already poisoned fish and there are also growing concerns about toxic air from the old incinerator.

Conference Centre Backed
THE Treasury Department has put up its hand to assist with creating a Phuket conference centre on 150 rai of government-owned land in Thatchatchai, at the north of Phuket, close to Sirinat National Park.

Treasury Director Pitak Diraksuntoon said department officials were already looking at details and should have a business plan ready within two months.

He said the conference centre would be capable of accommodating 5000 to 6000 people.

The Treasury already owns the land and will consider the option of private funding depending on the final cost estimated by the report.

Part of the national park may be included in the project, so permission from the department overseeing the parks will be required first.

Khun Pitak says that Phuket has Treasury support for a deep sea port, capable of taking larger cruise ships. He also backs the concept of the island as a free trade zone.

Goodbye Dubai
REMEMBER when Dubai was hot? Not any more, at least in the travel sense.

Swanky brand resorts in the once-trendy Middle East destination have occupancy rates as low as 19 percent, according to the Kipp Report online.

After being ranked up there above Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo and London in 2007, Dubai is apparently discounting rooms to half price.

The Kipp Report says: ''Each (brand) is coping with whatever strategy best suits its market positioning, but nobody dare admit officially that there is a problem.''

And the article adds ''there is a nagging suspicion the city has been rumbled: strained infrastructure, choked roads, few transport options, ugly cranes and little to do beyond malls.''

European travel agents, it seems, have pulled the greedy Dubai resorts from brochures to offer Sri Lanka, Thailand and other destinations that are better value.

Lessons for Phuket have to be in there somewhere.

New Tourist Park
PHANG NGA plans a botanical gardens spreading out across 12,187 rai on and around Ra island.

The area already contains a prolific variety of local plants and would include marine flora, too.

Ra island is accessible via a 30-minute longtail ride from the pier at the town of Kuraburi, and situated near Prathong island.

Phang Nga has been looking for tourist attractions that will keep tourists in the province longer.

Local authorities envy the number of visitors who stay on Phuket and only make day-trips to Phang Nga.

The new botanical park will take five years to prepare.

Burma Revisionists
REMEMBER when Phuket was ''devastated'' by false international media reports?

The junta in power in Burma has now granted visas to 1670 foreigners to deliver humanitarian aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, state media says.

The change of heart by the paranoid generals came two months late.

Back-tracking sources, including the New York Times, now say that the Burmese coped remarkably well with the aftermath of the cyclone that killed 84,000.

As with Thailand's 2004 tsunami, travel warnings of cholera and typhoid proved to be gross exaggerations.

The junta now also says victory by democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party in the 1990 elections is ''no longer legal.''

So it's plain that being able to cope does not make the generals any less evil.

Marriott Prepared
THE 2008 World Travel Awards voted Phuket's JW Marriott Resort & Spa as Thailand's Leading Hotel, a fine acclaim for an establishmentt that is seven years old.

With the global pressures in mind, Phuketwan asked: Is there any evidence in forward bookings at JW that numbers from Europe are falling, or that the figures for August are likely to be affected by the Beijing Olympic Games?

The answer: ''Taking a quick look, the numbers are on par with last year. The Beijing Olympics may have an effect in August for FIT guest but fortunately we have quite a strong group base so it will not have a serious impact.''

Other Phuket resorts may not be so well positioned.

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Sunday October 17, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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