By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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What Thailand needs is a proper marketing plan say travel gurus

By Barry Kenyon

May 16, 2022

The ending of Covid testing for vaccinated international visitors, either before or after arrival, has certainly boosted tourist numbers. But travel agents say that the Thailand Pass – the requirement to register online in advance and upload travel documents, vaccination proof and Covid insurance cover for at least US$10,000 – is still deterring wannabe vacationers.

Jason Pritchard, spokesperson for Olympia Tours which specializes in Asian holidays, said, “Customers are still confused as the Thai authorities change the detail every month or so. In particular, the insurance requirement seems to be more of a travel tax than a genuine attempt to cover hospital bills. People also mix up insurance with the recent publicity about a mysterious 300 baht entry fee, added to airfares, which the government has now indefinitely postponed in any case.”

Others agree. Bill Heinecke, chair of Minor International PCL, has long campaigned against Thai travel restrictions and advocated a return to the pre-pandemic immigration regulations. “Fully vaccinated travellers should just need to show their vaccine passport at the airport together with their travel documents,” he recently told a travel conference. He voiced concerns that Thailand was falling behind other countries in the region. Cambodia, for example, no longer requires pre-registration or health tests for vaccinated arrivals.

Hoteliers say Pattaya is about 30 percent back to normal. The Eastern Region Hoteliers group said, “Hotels are fullish on weekends, but Pattaya is still dependent on the Thai domestic market. For example, most of the day trippers to Koh Larn island are Thais.” Pattaya roads are jammed with weekend travellers, but many car number plates are Bangkok registered. Some hotels and leisure facilities such as theatres will remain closed until the Chinese market returns.” In 2019 almost a third of the 39 million international arrivals were Chinese.

The owners of night spots agreed the Pattaya revival is partial. The Walking Street entertainment collective said, “We need to get rid of the early closing at midnight and the meaningless distinction between restaurants which are allowed to open and clubs which are still padlocked.” The rigid line has become meaningless as several bars now have cabaret acts or sexy dancing onstage.

Spokesperson for International Marketing, Christine Philips, summed up, “What Thailand needs now is a coherent marketing strategy to bring back more of the international tourists. The government authorities need to simplify entry rules and visas, but also to streamline announcements. At the moment, there are too many senior officials in government ministries explaining and predicting in public. The result is confusion about immigration matters, insurance requirements and licensing laws.” It’s not a good mix, she concluded.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... rus-398748

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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gerefan wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 11:30 pm
The floating breakfast is no less than 2856 baht!
The room start at 7098 per night.
That’s B&B for a minimum of 9954 baht per night!

I will let you know about that!

It’s no wonder the car park is only full of expensive cars...
I did not pay anywhere near that price. They had been offering weekday deep discounts. If you join their Cross X2 site you get discount offers.

Here is Pattaya's newest up market establishment. Perhaps you've noticed it sticking out in the skyline. I looks interesting. I have not stayed here yet.

https://spacepattaya.com/

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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gerefan wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 11:30 pm
That’s B&B for a minimum of 9954 baht per night!
The rooms with pools are just crying out for some "entertainment". So add another 2000 for a long time tip and a few hundred more for his taxi fare.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by gerefan »

Jun wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 2:28 pm
gerefan wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 11:30 pm
That’s B&B for a minimum of 9954 baht per night!
The rooms with pools are just crying out for some "entertainment". So add another 2000 for a long time tip and a few hundred more for his taxi fare.

That would be 12254 per night.
Hmmm, so for a UK winter stay of 90 days that’s a cool 1.1 million baht.
Even I can’t afford that!! Dunno about you!!

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

gerefan wrote:
Tue May 17, 2022 8:21 pm
That would be 12254 per night.
Hmmm, so for a UK winter stay of 90 days that’s a cool 1.1 million baht.
Even I can’t afford that!! Dunno about you!!
People can try anything for a year or two, or even a week or two.
However I much prefer keeping some money back, so the cash stretches beyond average life expectancy AND can cope with a few "events", such as adverse exchange rate movements & so on.

Some have a natural tendency to live within their means, other spend more than they can afford and those who are really fortunate or hard working can probably afford to continuously enjoy such luxury.
Fortunately, I'm fairly happy with good value accommodation much closer to coffee shops, bars & restaurants.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya’s Walking Street back to feet only

By Barry Kenyon

May 19, 2022

Pattaya’s most famous landmark has again been closed off at night to all vehicles, including motorbikes whilst infrastructure is under repair. City Hall has erected a notice at the main Beach Road entrance which explains that “road improvements” (apparently resurfacing) are being made. No time scale has yet been given.

At the entrance area for about 100 yards the concrete is being dug up once again after bulldozers and tractors performed a similar function last year in the name of burying electricity cables underground, a project still ongoing from time to time. But Walking Street is still open to pedestrian business and the entertainment palaces, especially in the middle section near the Diamond Arcade, are well-staffed with beckoning maidens and security staff.

The most recent Walking Street upheaval probably won’t deter potential customers if only because so many thoroughfares in Pattaya, including most main roads, are currently under repair or renovation at some point. “Visitors have gotten used to this kind of inconvenience,” says motorbike taxi driver Khun Wee, and traffic chaos is good for business as we can weave in and out.”

Walking Street, which faces stiff nightery competition from other entertainment districts such as Soi Buakhao, has taken full advantage of the legal ambiguity which allows only “restaurants” to be open. Although about half the gogo clubs are still closed, the others have managed to stay within the law by blacking out their stages for gogo dancers and allowing staff to mingle with customers while handing out nuts and crisps.

Pattaya entertainment managers are confident that the government is on the verge of allowing a full opening in tourist-orientated towns and cities from next month, possibly with a later closing time than the present midnight clampdown. If so, Walking Street will be virtually back to normal and ready for the summer rush. But no more free nuts and crisps.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... nly-399060

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British embassies emphasize they cannot pay expat hospital bills

By Barry Kenyon

June 7, 2022

Following a rush of tragic cases in recent months, the British embassies in Thailand and Cambodia are reminding their nationals that medical bills must be paid by insurers, the patient or willing third parties. They add on their websites that they cannot fund air tickets to get home, no matter how urgent the crisis.

A current case illustrates the issue. Retiree John Humphreys, 75, has lived in Thailand and Cambodia for the past 20 years. Originally based in Pattaya, he became well-known as a member of the popular Dolly Sisters, a drag comedy-song act, which helped raise substantial money for aids charities. He was also a volunteer hospital visitor for two embassies.

Last month, he suffered intense pain and was discovered to be seriously ill with cancer-related conditions. He is currently lying uninsured and semi-conscious in a Siem Reap hospital. Initial donations from local friends have now expired and no family members have offered to assist financially. According to an embassy-linked NGO with access to medical records, his condition is terminal. The hospital authorities say they may have to remove him from the premises as foreigners are not eligible for free accommodation.

This case, amongst others, is pushing mandatory insurance for foreigners back into the news. Currently, there are no mandatory insurance requirements for Cambodian visas. Thai authorities presently require proof of Covid-specific insurance, worth at least US$10,000 and valid for a minimum of one month, for all foreign entrants except work permit holders who are covered by the state scheme. But most visas and extensions of stay do not require ongoing or comprehensive medical insurance.

The Thai government has announced that, with effect from 1 September 2022, yearly retirement visas (minimum age 50), issued by embassies abroad, will require US$3 million comprehensive medical insurance, but with a separate facility for self-insurance. These rules will also apply for the annual extension of stay. However, there will still be loopholes as retirees can apply for other visas, such as the Elite card or some 12 month extensions granted by immigration offices, which don’t require ongoing insurance.

Travel gurus say the issues are complex. While many competitor Asian countries are downgrading insurance requirements to boost tourist numbers, it is difficult for Thailand to move in the opposite direction. Moreover, whilst some policies currently on the market are good, others are a scam which would never pay up following a claim. A spokesman for Easy Travel, who declined to be identified, said, “Just because someone waves around a policy document doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth anything.”

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/britis ... lls-400795

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Barry Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:50 am
Travel gurus say the issues are complex.
Doesn't seem very complex to me. It goes beyond foolish to go to a foreign country without proper insurance unless you are independently wealthy. I can't imagine that anyone thought their embassy would cover medical costs or would pay to have you sent home, but apparently there are people out there who think their embassy will do that. WRONG!

Some people always think, "Ahhhh, I'm only going for a short time. I'll be fine. And these things always happen to somebody else."

If that describes your thinking, guess what - to everyone in the entire world you are somebody else . . .

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Gaybutton wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:47 am
Doesn't seem very complex to me. It goes beyond foolish to go to a foreign country without proper insurance unless you are independently wealthy.
There are people who travel without effective medical insurance. I'm not one of them and always have insurance.

Also, I note whilst the above article says they are requiring $3million insurance cover for expats, the cover requires to get a Thai Pass is a pitiful $10,000. Describing that as insurance cover is negligent behaviour by the government as no doubt some people will think they are insured.

Every few months, we also hear another story of farang who have had a total failure to budget properly & have neither medical insurance, nor even the $1000 needed to buy a plane ticket back to the UK.

Worse still, he's run out of money at 75.
Let's say someone retires early at 55. Their average life expectancy from that point is 84. There's a 1 in 4 chance of them living to 92 and a 1 in 10 chance of making it to 97.
Budgeting to spend all your money by 84 gives a 50% chance of outliving your funds, which is way too high. To run out of money at 75 and be unable to afford the air fare home is simply reckless.

The Thai requirement to have 800,000 baht in a bank account at least means residents should be able to afford the air fare home when the rest of the money runs out.

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Jun wrote:
Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:04 pm
Every few months, we also hear another story of farang who have had a total failure to budget properly & have neither medical insurance, nor even the $1000 needed to buy a plane ticket back to the UK.
I've personally seen that happen, unfortunately, more than once. It happened to one of my farang friends. He had more than enough money available to him to live comfortably the rest of his life. What happened? What usually happens to foolish gay farang - taken in by the Thai boyfriend who didn't give a damn about him. Everybody saw that - except him. All of his money ended up in the hands of the Thai boyfriend. We warned him over and over not to do it. He wouldn't listen. Even a close American friend - an expert on finances and the farang knew that - warned him and made it totally clear that he can't do it. There simply isn't enough money. He still wouldn't listen.

When he became gravely ill the boyfriend abandoned him. No surprise. I would have been surprised if this guy didn't abandon him. He was broke and had no place to go. Even if he could have afforded the trip back to the USA, he had no place to go once he got there.

He spent several months dying one of the most miserable deaths I've ever seen, suffering greatly. He could have afforded good insurance if it wasn't for trying to buy the boyfriend's love. If he behaved sensibly, it wouldn't have happened.

And as I said, this story is not the only similar story I personally know about.

Bottom line - Make sure you are protected by good insurance and make sure you have enough money to live decently. Take care of yourself before worrying about the boyfriend. In other words, don't be a schmuck.

It also reminds me of my favorite all time quote, told to me by a gentleman many of you probably remember:

"If you want love in Thailand, rent it."
- Richard Burk - former owner of the Amor Restaurant in Boyztown

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