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Thaksin Revives Gamble On Casinos

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TOURISM MAGNET: PM revives gamble on casinos

BANGKOK: -- Plan brought back to compete with HK Disneyland, Singapore. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has revived his plan to introduce casinos to Thailand as a last-ditch gamble to boost the sagging tourism industry amid increased competition from rival Asian destinations, the tourism and sports minister said yesterday.

Pracha Maleenont said the “one region one casino” initiative was proposed in response to the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland this month and two casinos in Singapore in the next few years.

“Thailand needs a new tourism magnet to lure more international tourists and local travellers,” he said.

The Disneyland theme park is expected to divert potential foreign travellers to Hong Kong, especially from China, one of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s main target markets.

Pracha said Thaksin assigned the Government Lottery Office to conduct a feasibility study that should be completed by the end of this year.

The government wants to build at least four casinos in the Kingdom, he said, one each in the four regions. Two of the casinos will be located in existing tourism hotspots such as Phuket or Pattaya, and two will be built in less popular locations.

“If we want more tourism income we should start putting this thing on our tourism map. The casinos will also help the economy to recover,” Pracha said.

Thailand has suffered a sharp decline in tourism since the tsunami. In the first half of the year, fewer than 6 million tourists visited Thailand, well off the pace to reach the tourism authority’s target of 13.4 million visitors for the entire year.

Pracha said only 700,000 tourists arrived at Bangkok International Airport in August.

Despite complaints from private travel organisations that the government was slow to help the industry, Pracha said he was confident that the TAT could attract 6 million tourists in the remaining four months of the year. Topping the list of target travellers are the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans.

Thaksin first unveiled his casino plan a year ago, but he was strongly criticised by devout Buddhists who said the casinos would promote gambling and spark social problems.

The government also planned to promote Chiang Mai Night Safari as a new magnet for northern tourism. The park, which was scheduled to open in November, will feature a night safari, theme park, monorail system and Lanna traditional activities.

The authorities said the night safari would compete with Hong Kong’s Disneyland as a new tourism product that focused on Thai culture.

Meanwhile, the TAT has unveiled plans to issue more licenses for duty-free shops in the three tsunami-hit southern provinces of Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga.

--The Nation 2005-09-09

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Another bad plan by Thaksin. Either that or he just want to widen his money wallet. Instead of fixing local problems, he think bringing in more tourism will solve everything.

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I think a lot of people will be disappointed visiting a casino in Thailand--especially when they can't get an alcoholic beverage between 2-4 pm!

If they are looking for that "special" tourist niche, they may want to go back to the sex tourists, they seem to have money and are having a hard time finding a friendly country anymore!

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TOURISM MAGNET: PM revives gamble on casinos

BANGKOK: -- Plan brought back to compete with HK Disneyland, Singapore. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has revived his plan to introduce casinos to Thailand as a last-ditch gamble to boost the sagging tourism industry amid increased competition from rival Asian destinations, the tourism and sports minister said yesterday.

Pracha Maleenont said the “one region one casino” initiative was proposed in response to the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland this month and two casinos in Singapore in the next few years.

Just like OTOP, but now it's OROC?? the love these "one something one another thing" campaigns...like one village one scholarship, etc. etc.

“Thailand needs a new tourism magnet to lure more international tourists and local travellers,” he said.

This is the same guy who, while wearing a different Cabinet hat (he's worn many!), ordered the infamous raid on the Q Bar in purusit of the whole social order campaign that included raiding dozens of entertainment establishments with the resultant harassment of tourists.

Sgt-Major Manote Panyatana said, “We did the raid last night because the Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont requested it. . .he ordered us to make arrests, and he's in command, so we had to make arrests,” Manote said.

They nabbed 104 people for the heinous crime of not having their passports with them.

Yeah, this guy totally understands tourism. :o Mr. T appoints someone with his daft thinking to LEAD tourism efforts????  :D  :D  :D

A search on The Nation turns up approximately 200 articles on this clown's actions since 2001.  :D

One of my favorites is:

About 50 bar girls were arrested on Monday night for staging lewd shows in a Sukhumvit lounge specialising in sexual fantasies, including sadomasochistic role playing.

Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont led the police raid and stayed for hours and hours and hours. (my italics)

:D

The Disneyland theme park is expected to divert potential foreign travellers to Hong Kong, especially from China, one of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s main target markets.

Pracha said Thaksin assigned the Government Lottery Office to conduct a feasibility study that should be completed by the end of this year.

Why waste time waiting for the pre-determined results?

The government wants to build at least four casinos in the Kingdom, he said, one each in the four regions. Two of the casinos will be located in existing tourism hotspots such as Phuket or Pattaya, and two will be built in less popular locations.

ShinFam is deciding first which properties to own... they already have their land holdings ready for the first two locations...

“If we want more tourism income we should start putting this thing on our tourism map. The casinos will also help the economy to recover,” Pracha said.

Thailand has suffered a sharp decline in tourism since the tsunami. In the first half of the year, fewer than 6 million tourists visited Thailand, well off the pace to reach the tourism authority’s target of 13.4 million visitors for the entire year.

Pracha said only 700,000 tourists arrived at Bangkok International Airport in August.

Despite complaints from private travel organisations that the government was slow to help the industry, Pracha said he was confident that the TAT could attract 6 million tourists in the remaining four months of the year.

Looks like he might be wearing yet another "hat" (or no hat at all) if he fails to pull this feat off. That would require 1.5 million per month for Sep, Oct, Nov, and Dec... or over double the figures for August...

Thaksin first unveiled his casino plan a year ago, but he was strongly criticised by devout Buddhists who said the casinos would promote gambling and spark social problems.

Part of his so-often-used technique of floating an idea out there...see the public reactions, then react accordingly. Such as the recent cancelling of the orange/red subway lines, it met with extreme public outrage... so he quickly retracted and said we aren't going to scrap it, we're phasing in over a longer period of time.

In cases where it's something he really wants to push through... he simply waits if he got a bad public reaction initially... wait and then push it out there again. While waiting try other techniques to try and sway the public with other actions, like clamping down on poipet border crossings... highlighting the amount of money the Thailand treasury is losing... raiding illegal domestic casinos in Bangkok. It's terrific theatre observing all of this.

The government also planned to promote Chiang Mai Night Safari as a new magnet for northern tourism. The park, which was scheduled to open in November, will feature a night safari, theme park, monorail system and Lanna traditional activities.

The authorities said the night safari would compete with Hong Kong’s Disneyland as a new tourism product that focused on Thai culture.

Typical Dad to family discussion:

"hmmm... It's a zoo versus Disneyland... Where do you guys want to go?"

Edited by sriracha john

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I think a lot of people will be disappointed visiting a casino in Thailand--especially when they can't get an alcoholic beverage between 2-4 pm! 

If they are looking for that "special" tourist niche, they may want to go back to the sex tourists, they seem to have money and are having a hard time finding a friendly country anymore!

Scott

My thoughts exaclty - Casinos shutting at 2am when you are on a roll ? No alchohol to keep the punters stupid ?

That's never gonna work is it.

That aside - if they do open a casino, it will bring in more people into the country which means more residents in hotels, more people in restaurants & shopping malls, taxis etc.

This'll be great for the Thai economy.

Pedro

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Hope they build'em near Heng owned real estate.

:o

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Hope they build'em near Heng owned real estate.

:D

Jai Dee is building just across the road from one of Thickskin's sites... :o

:D

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TOURISM MAGNET: PM revives gamble on casinos

:o Have the fixed the national lottery system yet or is it still rigged?

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opening casinos in Thailand will certainly bring a lot of income for the government, as by now most of those, who want to gamble, have to visit either the "illegal" casinos, which still exist, or the border casinos - all of them pay little or no taxes.

the illusion is, to put the casinos in tourist places, like Phuket or Pattaya and expecting tourists to come to gamble!! :o

any serious casino all over the world knows, that very few tourists lcome to play, therefore they rely on locals or junkets.

if one of the casinos is to be in Pattaya, most likely it will be the "Ambassador", a few km south of Pattaya, which can accommodate up to 4.000 guests, and has plenty of facilties too.

the logic idea would be, to have two casinos, one for locals and tourists, one for high rollers, brought in by junkets, not to difficult, as the airport is not too far away, and the Ambassador has plenty of landing fields for helis.

bad part of the story : locals will (play and) loose a lot of money, crime rate around Pattaya will skyrocket, no significant increase in tourism to be expected.

good part : if international experts will be involved, they will be able to put up junket tours, this will generate income and taxes for the government.

my suggestion to Mr. toksin would be anyway :

have it financed by thais, but leave the management to a renowned international company, with mainly thai employees, some international supervisors, who can gradually be replaced by thais over the years.

do not worry too much that too many thais will loose too much, as they are gambling - and losing - anyway, so far without profit for the government.

you want to increase tourism?

too many answers already given in other posts, but not by casinos!

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Thailand has suffered a sharp decline in tourism since the tsunami. In the first half of the year, fewer than 6 million tourists visited Thailand

Dubai gets five and a half million visitors (and rising) a year, and they are generally the kind of upmarket, high-spending tourists that Thaksin and the TAT can only dream about.

The Thais need to realize where their traditional market share lies (low-end, cheap, mass-market, sex-orientated). I would guess that the kind of tourists who are typically attracted to Thailand couldn't really care less about casinos. They do however care very much about being turfed out of bars at a ridiculously early hour and having officious cops demand that they produce passports and pee into a plastic beaker. They might also be somewhat concerned about reports of increasing violence against foreigners.

Cutting off your nose to spite your face, then shooting yourself in the foot is something of a venerable tradition in Asia, however the Thaksin administration really does seem to have refined this tradition to an exquisite degree!

Edited by Rumpole

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I think it will be hard to compete with places like Dubai. I've been there a number of times (all related to stop overs). It's not a place I would necessarily choose to visit, but, when I've stayed there, the shopping is excellent, accommodations ex-cellent and everything has been convenient and easy.

You could buy anything from a huge diamond ring to a mercedes on a stop over. Thailand will have trouble competing with a place like that. The clientele going through Dubai are jet-setters & business people. They buy what they want--not what you want to sell them.

The mentality and life-style in BKK is completely different. They need to cater to the kind of people attracted to the country and expand it's attractiveness to the ones they want to come here.

Their moral crusading flies right in the face of tourism. They want to be a fashion hub--but don't want spaghetti straps or revealing clothes. The alcohol rules and bar closings are ridiculous.

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I think it will be hard to compete with places like Dubai.
Thailand doesn't have to compete with Dubai, on the contrary, it has to be happy that so many people fly THROUGH DUBAI, Emirates alone has sevral daily flights to BKK.
They buy what they want--not what you want to sell them. 

and this points to a major weakness in Thailand :

Thais see someone make money, and then copy his idea by the hundreds, - naturally it's not possible for all of them to make (the same) money.

other point : thais have an idea to open a business, and do it, where THEY THINK it will be good, but don't do any research, if the clientele is there....

he mentality and life-style in BKK is completely different.  They need to cater to the kind of people attracted to the country and expand it's attractiveness to the ones they want to come here. 
enforce showing the beauty of the land, enforce the friendliness of people and give tourists WHAT THEY WANT, AND NOT WHAT YOU LIKE TO GIVE THEM, then they will come back again.
Their moral crusading flies right in the face of tourism.  They want to be a fashion hub--but don't want spaghetti straps or revealing clothes.  The alcohol rules and bar closings are ridiculous.

this has been discussed in many posts before, but until Thais learn to accept the demands of tourists, and give them, what they are looking for, within boundaries !- this does not include paedophiles, ...

then tourists will come back!

but this has nothing to do with casinos !

CASINOS WILL NOT BRING TOURISTS, only money for the government which could be (parly) invested in new tourist attractions!

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I doubt that casino,s in LoS would assist in any way to encourage tourism, the high-flyers who are flown in on charter or private jets rarely go outside the casino precints, they are there solely for the gamble and to a lesser extent the (side benefits).

The average tourist does not come here to gamble and apart from the average punter having a flutter simply because its there the bulk of its turnover would have to come from the local populace,which would only create more hardships for them and their families.

In cambodia the casino,s are majority owned by overseas interests, can you see Mr. taxin allowing that in his backyard, methinks Thailands richest man wants to emulate Kerry Packer,Australias richest man and owner of Crown Casino.

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I doubt that casino,s in LoS would assist in any way to encourage tourism, the high-flyers who are flown in on charter or private jets rarely go outside the casino precints, they are there solely for the gamble and to a lesser extent the (side benefits).

The average tourist does not come here to gamble and apart from the average punter having a flutter simply because its there the bulk of its turnover would have to come from the local populace

,

correct!

In cambodia the casino,s are majority owned by overseas interests,

if you are talking about cambodian casinos. i.e. Sihanoukville, that is mainly correct, although they are not making much money.

before they went to Sihanoukville, they were in Pnomh Penh, and only one of them made some good money, every thursday,when a good junket tour come in.

border csinos (to Thailand) are mainly owned by thais, although through a vaste conglomerate of international companies, to hide the real owners.

can you see Mr. taxin allowing that in his backyard, methinks Thailands richest man wants to emulate Kerry Packer,Australias richest man and owner of Crown Casino.

about being the richest men of thailand and OZ you're wrong both ways!

and if Thailand will get casinos, you can be sure, that toksin may probably be involved, but not be sole owner.

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I think it will be hard to compete with places like Dubai. 

Scott: That was precisely my point. Thailand should not be attempting to compete with Dubai and other, more upmarket, destinations. The government and the TAT can dream, pontificate and implement pie-in-the-sky "elite" schemes until they are blue in the face, but they will never be able to attract high-end visitors in sufficient numbers. As you rightly said, they should instead be looking at the reasons for the decline in their traditional market share (not so very difficult to determine), and taking steps to ensure that the country does not lose its attraction for those tourists.

I'm sure that an ideal solution from a Thai Rak Thai perspective would be for tourists to arrive at the airport, empty their wallets into a suitably positioned receptacle, and then immediately board a departing aircraft. Unless they are very careful, they may just get their wish - minus the wallet-emptying, of course.

Som num nah.

Edited by Rumpole

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