bangkokpost.com When compared to the total number of visitors last year, which was 24.8 million, this year's tourist arrivals to Thailand will increase by 18.9 percent and will hit more than 30 million next year. The total number of Chinese tourists jumped from 2.7 million in 2012 to 4.6 million last year and might reach 8 million this year.
PHUKET: The daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media. Phuketwan closes on December 31.
bangkokpost.com Terminal 2 at Don Muang international airport reopened its doors, with the operation running smoothly, except for some hiccups involving support facilities.
reuters Four Western countries took the unusual step of issuing Christmas security warnings for westerners in a popular Beijing diplomatic and entertainment district.
reuters Thai authorities must step up witness protection for a major human trafficking trial with the accused including an army general and one investigator fleeing the country fearing for his life, activists said as the first witnesses gave evidence. The case includes 88 defendants allegedly involved with lucrative smuggling gangs that were trafficking Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, holding them for ransom in jungle camps before granting onward passage to Malaysia.
nationmultimedia.com The hearing was held with only defendants, witnesses, public prosecutors and defence lawyers present. The court said that relatives and media members could attend and listen to the testimonies via a live closed-circuit TV broadcast in another room, but they could not record or publish the content as it could affect the trial if other witnesses in the case knew it.
telegraph.co.uk Britain's Foreign Office says that violent sexual assaults and robberies against both men and women are reported regularly in the Koh Samui archipelago and the mainland province of Krabi, a hopping-off point to many of Thailand's islands. ''These are particularly common during the monthly Full Moon parties and generally occur late at night near bars,'' it says. Boat travel to the islands also poses a safety risk for tourists, as they can be overloaded and poorly maintained, and may operate even in rough seas.
nationmultimedia.com A Foreign Affairs Operation Centre has opened on Phuket in preparation for the Asean Economic Community, starting (AEC) next month. The centre will mostly focus on coordinating with other AEC law enforcement agencies to tackle transnational crime, provide tourist services and assist alien workers.
zacks.com Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort will be located in the Grand Bay area - at the northeast of Phuket and home to the Ao Po Grand Marina. The hotel is well accessible from the Phuket International Airport and is close to the entertainment hub on the island - Patong. The 200-room hotel will offer three distinct dining areas, including a bar, a modern meeting and event space, a spa, a fully-equipped fitness center and a scenic outdoor swimming pool. The hotel will also feature a private beachfront with picturesque views of the Andaman Sea.
nasdaq.com This deal would support Starwood's Sheraton 2020 initiative, which targets more than 150 Sheraton-branded hotels over the next five years. The hotel is expected to open in January 2019 on Thailand's largest and most popular island - Phuket.
bangkokpost.com Singapore Airlines (SIA) will introduce a sixth daily Singapore-Bangkok flight next March to capitalise on stronger demand.
Phuket Update A man is in hospital after being cut free from a pickup that slammed into a tree in Phuket Town amid what is believed to be an illegal street race on Phoonpol Road about 4am on Christmas Eve.
smh.com.au A Sydney law firm is investigating a potential class action against Virgin Australia and Jetstar over the airlines' pricing tactics, after a November ruling that the two carriers misled consumers about ticket prices. Last month the Federal Court found the airlines engaged in ''drip pricing'' - where an advertised price gets higher as a business discloses extra costs - which was misleading, deceptive and contravened consumer law.
theage.com.au A violent and "particularly dangerous" storm system, including a major tornado, has ripped through the American South, killing at least 10 people and injuring dozens more in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
nationmultimedia.com The Thai Embassy in Myanmar has warned Thai nationals to take extra care while travelling in that country after some 30 people protested outside the mission following a court decision to give death sentences to two Myanmar migrants in the Koh Tao double-murder case of two Britons.The embassy said Myanmar's social-media users planned another protest outside the Thai Embassy today.
prestwichandwhitefieldguide.co.uk Under-fire Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has branded his side's Boxing Day meeting with Stoke a must-win match and warned his players they have to improve many aspects of their game.
Phuket Update People across Phuket and along the Andaman coast will commemorate the 2004 tsunami that killed 5400 tourists and Thais and about 220,000 around the Indian Ocean with services at memorial sites on Saturday. Eleven years on, authorities have yet to clarify that nearly all the original 3000 ''missing'' were eventually identified among the 5400 bodies.
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 2004 Tsunami memorial ceremonies
December 26-January 5 Red Cross Fair, Saphan Hin, Phuket City
January 7-10 Phuket International Boat Show