- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
One-year memorial event will bring closure for relatives of tsunami victims
Pattaya responds to calls for help
Changing population trends call for new strategies
Governor Juthamas Siriwan
to retire next year
One-year memorial event will bring closure for relatives of tsunami victims
A memorial ceremony and activities will be held over the
period of December 25 to January 3 in memory of those who lost their lives
during the Boxing Day tsunami one year ago. Families of the victims have
been invited to Thailand to participate in what many hope will be closure
for many of them.
Events will be held in the provinces around the Andaman
Sea, including Phuket, Pang-Nga, Krabi, Trang, Ranong and Satul. The prime
minister will lay the foundation stone of the Tsunami Monument at a Brahman
ceremonial site at Had Lek, in Kao Lak Lamroo National Park. Religious
ceremonies will be held for Buddhists, Christians, Moslems, Sikhs and Hindus
during the evening.
The government has said that HRH Princess Ubolratana will
present an address, herself having lost her son, Khun Phum Jensen in the
disaster. Almost 15,000 relatives of the victims, Thais and foreigners, have
been invited to the event.
A one-year memorial symbol has been created depicting a
wave upon a black background, the design being the work of Patawee
Pichannikorn, who won a contest to devise a memorable image for the event.
For more information please visit www.mfa.go.th/tsunami,
www.thainews.com, www.thaigov.go.th and www.phuketremembers.com
This week, Pattaya Mail has dedicated pages 8, 9 and 10 in memory of
those lost in the greatest natural tragedy of modern times, along with
saying thanks to all those who helped in this time of need.
Last Dec. 26, a tsunami ravaged Indian Ocean
coastlines, smashing beach communities and leaving at least 216,000
people dead or missing. The following are just a minute sample of the
hundreds of thousands of stories told by the survivors.
An excerpt of an email received from a friend in Phuket
sums up the confusion of the tragedy: “A friend of mine in Khao Lak who I
had been SMS for three days replied Tuesday: ‘I am OK can’t find my wife
and baby’. I got SMS from him yesterday evening saying: ‘Found them at
lunchtime today both unhurt’.”
Another tells of a tale of total destruction: “Phi Phi
is a morgue. We did the best we could for 2 days getting people out on
stretchers and supplying first aid but I estimate approx. 500-700 dead from
Princess and Charlie’s alone. Those not in rooms were on the beach and
both were full. Both are now just not there, no trace of them.”
From another email: “Khao Lak was flattened … I was
helping (my friend) salvage some valuables from his house just yesterday and
it was apocalyptic to have to step over dead bodies just to get in or out.
(My friend) may have lost his home, but his family is safe. After the
incident, (my girlfriend) and myself spent 2 nights on the boat cos all
utilities were out. We evacuated to Bangkok early this morning, the stench
of corpses was getting unreal. Was watching BBC, it just doesn’t come
close to what our eyes have seen on Khao Lak beach.”
A little boy stuck in a treetop seeing his mother die
before his eyes. A father and daughter who helped each other survive. A
7-year-old who thought he’d been transported to another city. Survivors of
Asia’s killer waves faced heart-rending choices, terror and grief.
Pattaya responds to calls for help
After the tsunami hit the south, and when the call for
help went out, Pattaya’s residents, tourists, Thais and foreigners
responded quickly and without hesitation. Blood was donated, food, clothes
and necessities were collected, and all was sent down south to the affected
areas. Literally every local organization and nearly every business in
Pattaya joined in the effort. The following is just a small sampling of the
help Pattaya provided:
Pattaya mayor rallies
support to help the south
On December 28, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn told an
urgent meeting with administrators at city hall, “The loss is massive; the
disaster is almost unbelievable.”
Pattaya’s community didn’t hesitate when joining the
rest of Thailand and the world in the outpouring of aid, regardless of
status or nationality. There were blood drives, and points were set up
around the city to collect donations of food, clothing and cash.
Pattaya City transported all items, with the help of the
Sawang Boriboon Foundation, to people in the south.
Out of respect for the victims of the disaster and in line with the
central government’s wishes, Pattaya’s New Year Festival was cancelled
and instead transformed into a fundraising activity.
Motorcycle Club, which donated many items, help load the truck destined to
deliver them to those in need.
Supachayanont, Dusit Resort Pattaya’s general manager and his team do
their bit to help.
Sikh community, led by Amrik Singh Kalra, did their part to help.
Ferguson donates blood at the temporary Red Cross donation point set up in a
clinic on Pattaya 2nd Road very near the Grand Sole Hotel.
Prefab housing headed south
On Tuesday (28 December 2004) while watching the
disastrous effects of the tsunami on the TV, Kevin Fisher formed an idea.
Prefabricated, modular buildings to be made from steel and other lightweight
materials might just help with the recovery effort in the south.
Kevin called an associate of his, Dave Doll of S.O.S.
(Sea and Oilfield Services Co Ltd) and both Kevin and Dave agreed that much
could be done to help the survivors and people aiding them.
and silently members of Lodge Pattaya West Winds assisted the south to
recover by building CKD schools for the Tsunami affected children. With the
assistance of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia, the Rotary Club of
Jomtien-Pattaya and private donors.
The following day the two of them proceeded to the
fabrication yard and conferred with the owners and designers at the yard. By
the end of the day, production costs, time frames, production capabilities
and other relevant details had been worked out.
Kevin and Dave immediately started to contact various
organizations and agencies to help spread the word to fund and find the most
advantageous placement for the rapid deployment units in the disaster areas.
David Garred volunteered to help organize and manage the logistical end of
the operations while Kevin and Dave work in the field teaching others how to
assemble the buildings on site.
With the input received from various sources, the plan
became a reality and the first buildings were delivered and assembled in the
middle of January.
The rapid deployment frame buildings were the fastest to produce and set
up in the disaster areas during the first phase. They are most commonly used
for medical facilities, kitchen and dining facilities, dormitories,
shower/toilet facilities, schools, office complexes, maintenance and various
types of storage areas.
|Pattaya Sports Club
meets the needs of those in the South
PSC Charity Chairman
PSC Charity joined hands with the local Sawang
Boriboon Foundation in a trip to the devastated Phang-nga province.
Travelling overnight and well into the next day the convoy of 8 fully
laden six wheelers and 10 support vehicles finally arrived at the
operations centre in Phang-nga. On board the trucks were tons of rice,
dry foods, water and clothing as well as thousands of specially packed
bags containing essential items (towels toiletries eating utensils dry
foods and candy for the kids).
Nam Khem School, or what was left of it. It had taken the full force
of the wave, but thankfully the disaster occurred on Sunday morning
with no children in attendance, or the tragedy could have been much
Before leaving the centre a donation of 350,000
baht was made to Khun Chalasak, the director of School Ban Nam Khem,
whose school was almost demolished in the disaster.
Our first camp visit was Ban Muang, a virtual tent
city with around 1,200 displaced people. While the famous Thai smile
was still evident it was a little slower in coming and was tinged with
a degree of sadness. Many of the specially prepared packages were left
at this site to be distributed later along with several hundred
Next stop was Khao Lak where a camp had been
established behind the Pak Wiap School. Here, over a hundred and
twenty people received relief packages and were given 2,000 baht cash
each to help them over the next few days. The same format was followed
at two camps in the Ban Khuk Kak area. At no time was there any sign
unruliness or ingratitude. These folk were still gracious and thankful
in spite of the ordeals they had suffered.
At one of these camps temporary dwellings were
being constructed while we were there, and people who previously were
living under sheets of plastic spread over or between trees were being
relocated as the structures were completed. Counselling and healthcare
were also available, a pat on the back to the donors and organizers of
Our last stop was at the naval installation at Ban
Nam Khem, which is right on the water’s edge. Here the buildings
were badly damaged and many lives lost. Across the road sat the Ban
Nam Khem School, or what was left of it. Almost every classroom had
walls knocked out and had obviously taken the full force of the wave.
In all over 3 million baht in cash was distributed to very needy
folk as well as many tons of essential items. While Pattaya Sports
Club donated only 500,000 baht of this total, its members can feel
proud to have contributed to a very worthy cause.
Redemptorist Vocational School in
Pattaya helps tsunami victims in the South
The Pramahathai Vocational School in Pattaya, led
by school director Suporntham Mongkolsawat, with a total of 24
teachers, students, and foreign volunteers, went to help the tsunami
victims in southern Thailand.
Taksin Shinawatra and his teams checked in on the team and lifted
Pramahathai Vocational School in Pattaya teaches
computer skills and electronics and therefore students and staff were
in a position to help with information processing, such as creating
data bases for lost and missing persons, registration, retouching old
photos, taking photos, and other help needed.
The group worked at the Yan Yao Temple in Pang-nga, which was
heavily damaged. The devastation and death toll was heartbreaking and
the calamity was on a scale never before been seen in Thailand. Work
on the first day was slow because the team didn’t have enough
support from the other organizations. The next day the team brought
all necessary equipment by themselves, including computers, printers,
digital cameras, scanners and mobile phones. Gathering all the data
was hard work under the existing conditions, but Prime Minister Taksin
Shinawatra and members of concerned departments cheered everyone up,
which significantly boosted morale and willpower.
Changing population trends call for
An Asian population ageing faster than its birth rate and
growing affluence will drive changes in buying trends in the next decade,
and the hospitality industry must find a strategy to accommodate the trend
for the best gains.
This trend was spelt out by Mastercard during its Global
Hospitality Forum last week. Results and forecasts were based on findings
regarding spending on personal travel extrapolated from household income and
expenditure account data.
Countries accounted for included Japan, South Korea,
China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the
Philippines, India, Australia and New Zealand. GDP growth trends from 1990
to 2004 and population growth and lifecycle stage distribution numbers were
taken into account.
MasterCard Asia-Pacific economic advisor, Dr Yuwa
Hedrick-Wong, said: “Retired travelers will be the major segment in the
future because Asia’s population is ageing very fast and they have much
more spending power...those who are in the middle income bracket of
US$30,000 to US$100,000 spent US$17.5 billion in 2004 (16 times more than
singles in the same income group, who spent US$1.2 billion last year) and
will spend US$23.6 billion by 2014.”
Retirees in the US$100,000-plus income bracket will also
double their spending from US$5.8 billion in 2004 to US$10.2 billion in
Dr Hedrick-Wong highlighted the multiplier effects of
Asia’s rising income with an average annual personal travel threshold of
US$5,000. “For every one percent increase in income, there is a three
percent increase in the households that travel,” he said.
In 2004, there were 97 million people with annual incomes
of US$30,000 to US$100,000 and a combined spending of US$32 billion. He
projected this group would grow by 7.2 percent to 104 million people by
2014, but total potential spending would grow 53 percent to US$49 billion.
Estimated overseas travel spending per traveler was US$1,000 in 2004 and is
forecast to rise to US$1,200 by 2014.
But the group to watch is those with annual incomes of
more than US$100,000-plus. Last year, there were 15 million people in this
group with combined spending of US$8.2 billion. Although projected to grow
by only two million to 17 million people by 2014, this group’s total
potential spending is set to double to US$17.6 billion by then. Estimated
spending per traveler is forecast to increase tremendously from US$2,500 to
US$6,500 per year in overseas travel.
The desires of the much-coveted mainland China traveler
are also undergoing a “dramatic shift”, from shopping to cultural
And the rise in Internet bookings among those who have
traveled 10 times or more, was also another trend that was highlighted. (TTG
Governor Juthamas Siriwan
to retire next year
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will add a new
deputy governor for strategic planning of special events and products within
six months, as its current five deputy governors are “overloaded”.
The new deputy governor, most likely to be in charge of
two departments, will also be responsible for creating tactical marketing
schemes. TAT’s Director of policy and planning department, Auggaphol
Brickshawana, has been named as a possible candidate.
The new organization chart has been drawn up and TAT
Governor, Juthamas Siriwan, will present the draft for approval to the TAT
board of directors later this month.
Juthamas is retiring on September 30 next year, but the
reform plan is expected to materialize within her last nine months at TAT.
After the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism and
Sports (MOTS) in 2002, TAT streamlined by increasing the deputy governor
posts from three to five. The current deputy governors are for
administration, tourism products, domestic marketing, international
marketing, and publicity and public relations.
Sources said the proposed organizational structure might
not last long as the MOTS would undergo a restructuring by mid-2006. Any
MOTS restructuring is likely to have an impact on TAT’s organizational
Private sector sources told TTG Asia they felt TAT should
reassess itself and place emphasis on its two core strengths: marketing and
public relations. This is particularly so for international markets.
Laguna Phuket Managing Director, James Batt, said the
approach should be the same as in other business corporations, and that TAT,
as the sales and marketing arm of the government’s tourism effort, should
be judged on results.
Thailand has seen growth and hence the TAT has enjoyed
growth, he said. “But this year has been difficult. It has been a misery
to us. We still don’t understand why TAT placed such emphasis on domestic
and South Korean markets that did not respond well due to superstitious
reasons,” he said.
Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) President
Apichart Sankary, said TAT should place emphasis on international emerging
markets with new direct flights to Thailand, such as India and Russia.
He said road shows should be organized to India to
capture the affluent middle-class, which comprise around five percent of the
“More proactive marketing strategies should also be
introduced to lure back the UK and German markets, which have dropped
significantly following last December’s tsunami,” Apichart said.
He added: “The markets are returning to the Andaman
coast, but the figures are not as good as pre-tsunami period.”
However, Apichart praised the TAT for working more
closely with the private sector.
“We have seen tremendous improvements in cooperation
with TAT. The agency has included ATTA in many activities such as
brainstorming of marketing strategies and organizing road shows and
But Batt in part disagreed, saying his letters to the TAT governor
seeking a discussion with the government body on marketing support “never
received the courtesy of a reply”. (TTG Asia)
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