Why the Thai Tourism
Industry needs to support cable TV
It’s only TV...right? The very simple answer is - no.
Take a moment to think about it...close your eyes.
Imagine you are overseas, in Thailand, on business or holiday. You want to
know what’s going on in the world. You turn on the TV and what do you
get? Thai language news programmes, Thai soap operas or shows and a few
foreign language channels.
Satisfactory? Depends on your language skills and what
foreign language programmes are available. But the idea of no English
language news station to readers of this paper and educated Thais would be
a real step back into the dark ages. And this is the real danger if UBC,
the only national cable TV operator in Thailand, which is currently down
sizing and restructuring to reduce crippling losses, goes out of business.
This would be a disaster for the Tourism industry. We
constantly battle against international competition both world wide and
close to home in Asia, pitching against the techno-savvy Singaporeans and
venues like Hong Kong.
TV for a hotel or resort guest has become more than
just a luxury item in the room. It’s a part of modern life and instant
access to news and entertainment programmes is no longer optional -it’s
as essential as a bed in the room.
The predicament that UBC is currently faced with should
be of concern to all connected with the tourism industry. A Bt300 billion
industry is in danger of losing an essential supplier. A service that in
my mind is an integral part of a guest’s expectations, one they equate
with quality accommodation and service.
And the dilemma - a monopolistic industry that can
offer no real alternative to UBC.
A number of free-to-air channels and Thai TV - sure.
But quality entertainment, sport, movies, news in English? No.
What of all the entertainment places, bars and pubs
that regularly advertise special sporting events? Without cable access,
many of these events cannot be shown live. In this industry if it’s not
live coverage then forget it.
Then there’s the question of advertising. It’s
often a personal choice that some like others don’t. For me, if it means
sensible charges, limited to a reasonable number of minutes per hour and
enables cable TV in Thailand to survive, then I’m for it. Better than
the endless stream of gap fillers and ‘lift music’ we have to
Lets face it, if we wanted a quick social snapshot of
the times we live in, I suggest no better medium more clearly reflects the
world today than advertising. It is the finger on the pulse of society,
reflecting current lifestyles and trends.
Where advertising becomes intrusive is not necessarily
the adverts themselves but the quantity in relation to the programming. I
would suggest that this be restricted to be no more than 3-4 minutes at
any one time, but this is again a personal view. Others would find even
one minute of advertising too much.
As to the question why should we allow pay TV to earn
revenue both from advertising and fees when public Thai TV does not? We
only have to look at the quality of programming to understand that one of
the players has substantially higher costs with imported programmes.
Does this mean that Thai TV is no good? Not
necessarily; however, the programmes produced are often low budget studio
based programmes, with a high degree of commercial sponsorship. In the
context of satisfying the international visitor they fail. Thai TV, apart
from the language barrier, has limited international appeal for these
kinds of shows.
Finally the question of movies. Most good hotels have
pay movies. So why have cable at all? The answer here is not every guest
will want to pay and the time involved to watch a complete movie is
limited. The most important reason of all, however, is the lack of news
Cable TV today is certainly just more than an option,
it’s an essential service and I worry that if the present difficulties
of UBC became insurmountable, then the country as a whole would suffer.
Our tourism industry is a valuable foreign earner and UBC, or any cable
operator, provide a valuable service that cannot be under estimated. The
loss of this facility would have an impact on the quality of hospitality
service we deliver. Therefore the tourism industry must stand firmly
behind the cable operators to ensure they can continue to operate
profitability and with longevity.
Andrew J Wood
Royal Cliff Beach Resort
Is there a place in town (similar to what we have in
America, i.e., a Veterinary clinic) to call or go to? I myself along with
a lot of my friends have problems with many stray dogs in the street.
Staying up all night listening to the dogs bark is getting real old (the
dog owners let them roam the streets and not take care of them). I have
tried talking to the owners and they don’t seem to care if they bark all
night or not. Hopefully Thailand will take care of this problem real soon.
I’m at the end of my rope.
Your article regarding Investor Visas in the Column
Section of the Pattaya Mail (dated June 22, 2001) is not entirely
correct. In the case of cash deposits, you must be able to present a
certificate of overseas transfer to a Thai owned bank. Having a bankbook in
your name with at least 3 million baht on deposit is not enough. I found
this out when I went to the Immigration in Bangkok and showed them one Thai
bank account in which that I had at least 5 million on deposit.
Fred B. Field III
Reply to “It must
be the silly season”
I would like to point out to Mr. T. Crossley, who penned
the “It must be the silly season” in issue 26, that
“fed-up-with-moaners” letter (issue 22) at no time mentioned the
Songkran festival. A bit puzzling that one...perhaps Mr. Crossley has got
some letters and names confused?
“Fed-up-with-moaners” only pointed out that zoning
would be a good idea for Pattaya (and I see that the local council are
passing laws at the moment for that) rather than the suggested tactics of
other readers who wanted bars to close early. Hopefully this will help
residents combat noise pollution...too bad if you (that’s not intended as
a stab at Mr. Crossley, just a general statement) decided to purchase that
condo on Beach Road, Second Road, or in South Pattaya! FUWM also stated that
if bars were to remain open until the owners decided it was time to close,
this would help local business (a view often expressed by Bernard Trink,
long time LOS resident and highly respected columnist of the Bangkok Post).
FUWM also stated that baht bus fares are not pricey
compared to western countries, so why moan about it...that perhaps the
moaners would be happier back in their own countries...why come to Thailand
and try to make it just like the place they left behind (why leave to move
to LOS if back home was so good and better?), since Pattaya is a tourist
destination, and as such, tourists expect there to be a party atmosphere.
I think that a number of people share the view that,
“If you don’t like it, why stay here”, (I certainly do) it’s not
unique to FUWM. Pattaya is promoted in all the tourist brochures as a place
to party, have fun and get away from it all. I am sure that the local
businesses are happy to see such promotion too. But can we have it both ways
and please both sides? Perhaps, but as Mr. Crossley pointed out, that will
be difficult with the way things are done in LOS. All I can say is good
luck, maybe if enough people complain and moan things will change (hopefully
for the better). It gets a bit tedious reading about these issues week after
week though...and here I am contributing to the topic!
I quite understand his points about noise pollution
though. But it could be worse. He could be awakened at dawn every morning by
somebody screaming phrases from the Koran through a loudspeaker! Personally,
I prefer Pattaya, with all its shortcomings.
Also, I would like to point out that yes, foreigners do
get charged more than the Thais...but I don’t earn (nor wish to earn) the
salary of the average Thai, so I am not going to go ballistic about things
farang’s views on double pricing
In response to the so called “Frequent Farang” I can only
surmise from his response to Mr. Jan Abbink and dual pricing that he is either a
Frequent Thai or if he really is a farang he walks around Thailand with his eyes
closed. Mr. Abbink’s letter was spot on and is aimed at making foreign
tourists aware of the blatant rip-offs such as the 200 baht entrance fees to
so-called National Parks. For one thing, many of these parks offer nothing more
than maybe a small stream (waterfall?) or cave and are maybe worth a 20 baht
entrance fee but certainly not 200 baht. How about Ko Samui, a National Park?
How can a National Park be covered with bungalows and food carts? A 1000%
increase to enter a National Park is outrageous (200 baht for foreigners versus
20 baht for locals) in this case or any other.
Believe it or not pal, tourists do stay away from these clip
joints, if and when they are aware of this racist policy. Where does this writer
get the idea that all tourists are rich as he seems to be or that there is a
“dramatic difference in ability to pay”? What a crock. You’re “99% of
all Thai’s couldn’t afford to get in” and “people (Thais) who make 1/20
of what a typical tourist earns” comments are way off the mark. If you are
indeed frequent you obviously haven’t noticed the thousands of BMW’s,
Mercedes Benzes, SUV’s etc. that clutter Thailand’s roads. Frequent
Farang’s letter is indeed embarrassing to all foreigners looking for a fair
shake. Let these rich bleeding hearts continue to pay the exaggerated prices to
National Parks, Mini Siam, Crocodile Farm, Snake farm, Safari World, and plenty
of others. I for one (and many like me) will continue to stay away until we are
treated equally. There is plenty of other value in this country without these
places. I for one welcome letters like the one from Mr. Abbink. Hopefully (but I
doubt it) if enough negative feedback is generated the Thais running these so
called businesses where tourists are ripped off will some day wise up.
I just would like to send my thanks for a wonderful read. I
look foreword to reading your paper every week. May I also say to all the
killjoys that are moaning about the noise coming from the bars at night, this is
Pattaya. The nighttime should be when it comes alive as in Spain and other
tourist areas around the world. If you start to force early closing then
tourists will go elsewhere, and that can only be bad news for the tourist
industry and Thailand as a whole.
Trams would be the best option plying from Naklua to Dolphin
Roundabout, some via Beach Road to the police box then up and across South
Pattaya Road, others from Dolphin along Second Road up and over the hill to
Jomtien. Stop the coaches from using Beach Road or let them only go as far as
Soi Regent Marina, the old coach stop. Get the (tour groups) to walk from there
to A1 Royal Cruise or take the tram along Beach Road.
Thai construction to widen the Beach Road would be
interesting as the subsoil has a high content of sand and within couple years it
would slip onto beach.
Perhaps with baht buses the city hall could use a token
system, i.e., we pay with tokens, and then the drivers would turn them in for
cash. Tokens could be sold via hotels, etc,
Looking at this zone set up perhaps Pattaya needs some Nana
Plaza type complexes.
Updated every Friday
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel. 66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax: 66-38 427 596
Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.
in the Mailbag of Pattaya Mail
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noticed that the letters herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editor or writers
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