Vol. XIII No. 23
Friday June 10 - june 16, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

New hotel act is in interests of business and guests says PBTA

Taking care of the kids during hemorrhagic fever epidemic

Adoption project at Khao Kheow Open Zoo raises awareness of animals in the wild

PBTA prepares to join information superhighway

THAI urged to maintain passenger safety standards

New hotel act is in interests of business and guests says PBTA

Suchada Tupchai

Following changes to the 1935 legislation governing hotel businesses that came into effect in May this year, the Pattaya Mail spoke with Thanet Supornsaharungsi, Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) president, and association registrar Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn on how the new regulations would affect the business.

“The new legislation has many important changes to its predecessor,” said Thanes. “It requires hotels to have specific licenses and approvals. The ministerial regulations are now law and are yet to be fully enforced, and because of this the province and interior ministry will allow existing hotels a grace period in finalising their licenses and allowing them to submit the relevant documentation.

Interviewing Thanet Supornsaharungsi (centre), Pattaya Business and Tourism Association president, and Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn (right), PBTA registrar, talk about the changes to the hotel legislation.

“But when the law is enforced, hotel management must submit the documents for approval of a business license as a hotel.”

Thanet said that the new regulations make it clear that if the premises are not classified as a hotel they are unable to accept guests on a day-to-day basis. If the legislation is fully enforced, then even a single-room establishment taking guests on a daily basis must register as a hotel.

For Pattaya and other large cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there is also the issue of town planning departments becoming involved. If the business is not a hotel and is in the red zone (or commercial district) it can be registered as a hotel if the building meets the required safety standards under the hotels act. This can be backdated.

“But if the business wants to register as a hotel and has 80 rooms and above there also needs to be an environmental impact study before the approval is handed out,” said the PBTA president.

If the building is not a hotel but is in the commercial district, an investigation will be carried out by the town planning department. The opportunity to correct deficiencies is given following the survey.

“The association (PBTA) is coordinating with the private sector to make things easier because we see there are many who do not intend to break the law but are not well versed in the finer points of the new laws,” said Thanes.

“If we don’t do this, and help them follow the system, it will all be half hearted for them, and the government will also not be able to collect the full taxes. It would make it more difficult to control the business. This is where discussions are needed.”

Thanes said that the grace period is specifically for those businesses that began operations before the legislation came into effect. “But for those who knew what was happening, continued with their project and failed to follow or meet the standards, we cannot help them.

“There are also currently 100-200 hotel premises not inside the commercial zone but the quality of the building and standards have been met under the current act.”

Thanes said the new legislation focuses more on safety than previously, where the old laws focussed on parking availability leaving the safety issue wide open and causing many problems. “This is more specifically in the commercial zones but the main problem with this at the moment is the zoning issue itself,” said Thanet.

Both men said that the new hotels act will make things clearer and easier for operators and especially for the hotel guests. The new law also states that hotels must display their rates clearly and guests will be informed ahead of time about price changes.

They also revealed that the private sector participated in forming at least 40 percent of the new legislation, not as in previous times when it was automatically handed down by the government.

“I think that many groups in the business will review the laws and assist with any changes that need to be made. This will benefit everyone in the long term,” said Thanet.

Taking care of the kids during hemorrhagic fever epidemic

Suchada Tupchai

Assistant Professor Dr Somchai Pattana-Anek, director at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, presented a seminar on June 4 about the precautions that can be taken to avoid contracting hemorrhagic fever. The event took place in Meeting Room 1 of Bangkok Pattaya Hospital and was well attended by the public and by children from the Public Life Center and Child Orphanage Foundation.

Dr Puttachart Dumrongkijchaiporn, pediatrician at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, gives a talk on hemorrhagic fever.

Dr Somchai said the seminar was aimed at providing information for parents to understand how to take care of their children, who are particularly at risk during the rainy season, a time when hemorrhagic fever can be easily spread.

Also giving a talk was Dr Puttachart Dumrongkijchaiporn, pediatrician at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, who described the symptoms and potency of the disease, and patient treatment.

Bangkok Pattaya Hospital also demonstrated blood inspection with a microscope and a hemorrhagic fever examination done by PCR, polymerase chain reaction, which gives very fast and accurate results.

One parent said that this seminar was useful because hemorrhagic fever is very much in the news right now and people need more information. A 13-year-old child named Nong Phoom had recently passed away from hemorrhagic fever.

Reports of hemorrhagic fever from January to May this year list 8,983 cases from all over the country and 16 deaths. The number of patients was 47 percent higher than for the same period last year. Provinces where vigilance is particularly necessary are Rayong, Srakaew, Srisaket, Roi Et, Surat Thani, Krabi, Prachuabkirikhan, Pichit and Nakhon Sawan.

Adoption project at Khao Kheow Open Zoo raises awareness of animals in the wild

Chatchanun Chaisree

The Adoptions Project underway at Khao Kheow Open Zoo is a way both to help the conservation of animals and to develop awareness amongst the public that there is a responsibility on the part of society to ensure the safety of animals in the wild.

Adopt a tiger (or hippo, bear, zebra, giraffe, white rhino, barking deer, elephant, tapir, lion, gibbon, hornbill, pelican, heron, or crane) at Khao Kheow Open Zoo.

By offering to be “adoption parents” for a certain period, or permanently, people have the opportunity of watching “their” animal progress through various stages of its life. The zoo keeps the parents updated on the animal’s progress, and they have special visiting rights.

Amongst the species at Khao Kheow are hippopotamus, bear, zebra, giraffe, white rhinoceros, barking deer, elephant, tapir, tiger, lion, gibbon, hornbill, pelican, heron, and crane.

By donating an amount of between 100 and 900 baht, adoption parents can enjoy one free visit within 30 days. A monthly membership donating 1,000-3,000 baht allows free visits during one month. Yearly memberships are available by donating from 3,000 baht upwards.

Nanthiporn Petnoi, who is responsible for the Adoption Project, said this is a good way for parents to interest their children in animals and nature, and to help them develop responsible attitudes. Those interested can contact tel 038 298195. Fees can be transferred through Krung Thai Bank, Sriracha Branch, account number 208-1-72002-7.

PBTA prepares to join information superhighway

Suchada Tupchai

The hot topic at the monthly meeting of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association was to upgrade current websites to promote the region on the World Wide Web.

Thanet Supornsaharungsi, PBTA president chaired the May meeting at the Green Park Hotel.

(l-r) Thanet Supornsaharungsi, PBTA president, Jamroon Visavachaiyaphant, PBTA vice president and Sanga Kijsamrej.

The issue of promoting and updating the two websites pattayabusiness.org and pattayatourism.com is aimed at increasing the city’s profile through the internet.

Waiyawit Tantsawat, PBTA advisor, said that as Pattaya grows the need to provide information becomes more necessary. He outlined that the websites would eventually feature 9 languages with the aid of the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital’s International Department aiding in the translation process. Initial costs were set at 10,000 baht per site and an annual fee of 6,000 baht each. Waiyawit said he would be the person to update the site on a daily basis.

The idea was met favorably; however, Thanet said that 9 languages would too much to update all at once, and that the only mainstream languages be used such as Thai and English. General information in other languages could late be implemented.

Other topics at the meeting included the current water crisis in Pattaya. Many members revealed that businesses and residents were drastically affected by the problem and the issue needed to addressed urgently.

Thanet responded by saying that they would have to wait until allocated government funding came through and that plans have already been laid to provide short and long term solutions to the water problem.

THAI urged to maintain passenger safety standards

The family of a Thai Airways captain killed in a crash in 1998 today called on the national flag carrier to maintain passenger safety standards, while repeating denials of the airline’s claim that the accident in the country’s southern Surat Thani Province had been caused by pilot error.

The pilot’s daughters, who are among family members suing the airline for Bt130.5 million, spoke to TNA of the family’s continuing sorrow at the loss of their father and the anger they felt over the continuing blame that was heaped on the head of the deceased captain by the families of the 101 people who died in the incident.

The Airbus A310-200, en route from Bangkok to Surat Thani, crashed in a swamp on its third landing attempt at its destination airport in December 1998.

Although 45 passengers miraculously survived, 101 passengers and crew members were killed.

After the incident, the airline blamed Capt. Pinit Vetchsilp, whose daughters Miss Ratchaneewan and Miss Wannit Vetchsilp opened their hearts to reporters.

The daughters, who claim that the incident was caused by poor aircraft maintenance, said that the condemnation from relatives of those killed had been so severe that the location for their father’s funeral had been changed at the last minute to avoid disruption.

According to the two daughters, the airline had failed to maintain the decade-old plane, which had previously been reported with technical problems. The family is suing THAI for violating individual rights, defamation, loss of income and psychological damage.

Miss Ratchaneewan warned the airline that even if it won the civil suit, it should pay more attention to passenger safety standards in order to prevent future accidents. (TNA)


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