Asia commemorates tsunami of 11 years ago

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Tsunami 26a

In Southeast Asia was Saturday commemorated the 2004 tsunami. The tsunami that followed a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean cost in that year to about 230 000 lives. Most people died in Indonesia, where the memorial according to media is primarily used to draw attention to measures to ensure that such a disaster does not have to take place once. With the commemorations and processions the inhabitants of the affected areas are hoping to keep up the momentum in improving safety measures. In Sri Lanka, where some 40,000 people were killed by the tsunami, the disaster is commemorated with two minutes of silence.

Tsunami 26b

Thailand and other nations in and around the Indian Ocean held memorial services yesterday on the 11th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed about 230,000 people.

Tsunami 26c

The southern provinces of Phuket and Krabi held religious rituals to make merit for the deceased and to remember those who were lost, as well as the heroes who rescued others. Similar activities were held in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in and around the Indian Ocean where the tidal waves reaped death and destruction, as far away as coastal Africa.

A total of about 230,000 people died from the December 26, 2004 tsunamis, one of the deadliest natural disasters on record.

Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada led officials in white and members of the public offering alms to 26 Buddhist monks at the city hall yesterday morning, while Laem Phet monastery near Patong Beach hosted a Buddhist merit-making event.

An Islamic ritual was also held at Bang Tao Beach in Tambon Cherng Thalae.

At the Mai Khao tsunami memorial cemetery, the “Eleven Year in Memory of Tsunami” event was held with a ceremony for Buddhists, plus Christians and Muslims. It was attended by the relatives of victims, officials and representatives from various embassies.

At the tsunami memorial stone area behind Sunwing Hotel, the Phuket Longstay mid and advanced Aged Japanese Association (PLAJA) hosted a tsunami anniversary event and a religious ritual in which three Japanese monks prayed for the deceased and missing in the disaster. In the evening, a tsunami anniversary exhibition, a mourning ceremony, a Christian ritual and a Buddhist teaching were due to be held at Patong.

Similar events were held in Krabi, while those who survived the deadly waves said they still could not forget the drama.

Krabi governor Pinit Boonler hosted the ceremonies for three faiths on Koh Phi Phi yesterday, during which divers also went underwater to lay wreaths at the undersea memorial at Ao Ton Sai.

Bee-ah Changreu, 58, who came to remember her friend and relatives who lost their lives in the waves said she still had the horror of tsunami – with bodies lying on beaches – vivid in her mind as she was also on Koh Phi Phi when the disaster occurred.

Ranong province did not host a tsunami anniversary service yesterday. Officials opted instead for a campaign for public knowledge on how people can protect themselves and survive disasters in the future. Provincial governor Suriyan Kanchanasil said related agencies would soon survey evacuation routes and re-arrange them, as well as fix disaster warning towers to be ready for use, to boost public confidence.

But several people still showed up at memorial sites in Ranong to lay flowers in memory of the deceased.

On December 26, 2004, the 9.1-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit coastal communities across the Indian Ocean. The waves hit six provinces on the Andaman coast – Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, Ranong, Satun and Trang. It left at least 5,400 people dead and 2,800 missing.

Residents in Aceh held services yesterday also in memory at least 165,000 people killed in Indonesia’s westernmost province.

“We can never forget this day. It brings us a lot of pain. My heart sinks as I think of my son,” 42-year-old resident Anjammal Thangadurai said. She lost her 5-year old son in the tragedy.

Sources: AD.nl & The Nation

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Thailand – Breaking records: 30 million visited Thailand this year

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Coconuts today 25-12
Tourists walk pass a cut-out cardboard figure of a tourist policeman along Khao San Road in Bangkok.

Authorities want to figure out how to get tourists to stay longer and spend more money

It may have made its name as the ultimate backpacker destination but Thailand hopes to attract a more well-heeled kind of traveller in the future, its tourism minister said today, as the kingdom announced record arrivals for 2015.

The vital tourism industry remains one of the few economic brightspots following a year in which the junta-led government has struggled to kickstart the kingdom’s stumbling economy.

By the end of the year Thailand will have received more than 29.6 million foreign visitors, Minister for Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told reporters.

“Our goal is to focus on quality and how to make tourists stay longer and spend more money,” Kobkarn said, adding officials would target women, luxury holiday makers and sports tourism.

This year’s tourist arrivals are a significant jump from the 24.8 million who visited in 2014 – when the country was wracked by months of debilitating street protests and a military coup – and 26.5 million in 2013.

“Revenue from the tourism industry accounted for 14.5 percent of our GDP,” Kobkarn said.

After years of largely impressive economic expansion during the 1990s and 2000s, Thailand’s growth has significantly slowed, leading some to dub it the sick man of Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s planning agency expects this year’s growth to be between 2.7 and 3.2 percent, an improvement on last year’s negligible expansion but still one of the poorest performing economies in Southeast Asia.

Some independent economists have suggested growth could be as low as 2.5 percent.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power in May 2014, ousting a democratically elected government that he accused of being corrupt and running costly populist policies.

But his vow to kickstart growth has largely fallen flat.

The country’s key agricultural sectors – including rice and rubber – have struggled with falling global prices, curbing the amount of crops produced and taking money out of Thais’ pockets.

The country also remains one of Southeast Asia’s most indebted economies, denting consumer confidence.

In a recent note to clients Capital Economics said Thailand’s tourism industry had weathered a deadly bomb attack in Bangkok in August that appeared to target ethnic Chinese tourists.

“In 2015 we estimate that tourism will contribute 2 percentage points to GDP growth. Without this boost, the economy would hardly have expanded at all,” Asia economist Krystal Tan wrote.

However Tan warned that there was “almost no chance” of 2016 matching this year’s figures, citing capacity constraints – particularly at Thailand’s already hard-pressed airports.

Tourism minister Kobkarn said she hoped Thailand could attract 32 million visitors in 2016.

Source: Coconuts.com

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TELL US- What is your Favorite Travel Destination

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TELL US – What is your Favorite Travel Destination ?

We want provide you in 2016 with the most beautiful destinations.
But we need your help.

What you prefer, a hotel or resort ?
A winter or summer holiday ?
Please let us know.

El Nido Resorts - Miniloc Island 1

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The world’s six most remote places

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The world’s six most remote places
Sometimes you want to go away and shut yourself off from the world.
Travel to a place where you can be alone and where almost nobody lives.
Although the Earth is quite densely populated, there are still plenty to find remote places where people (about) life.

afgelegen+Ittoqqortoormiit
Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

afgelegen+aralmeer
Aral Sea, Uzbekistan

afgelegen+Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

afgelegen+Ittoqqortoormiit 2
Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

afgelegen+Edinburgh-Tristan
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas – Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom

afgelegen+yonaguni
Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

afgelegen+Kamchatka
Valley of the Geysers Kamchatka, Petropavlovsk, Russia

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Spain and Portugal benefit from anxiety attacks

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Spain and Portugal benefit from anxiety attacks

The suspected bomb attack on a plane over Egypt causes a stir in the travel industry. The number of sunny destinations without the risk of violence is decreasing. Safe countries like Spain and Portugal benefit.

Tour operators respond to these developments. To secure European sun destinations such as Spain and Portugal buy them extra rooms and airplane seats.

Holiday experts see this winter a shift to the Canary Islands at the expense of Egypt and Turkey.

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Ten people hurt as famous bridge collapses in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district.

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Mae Hong Son 2

TEN people were injured yesterday, three of them seriously, when the “country’s longest bamboo bridge” partially collapsed in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district.

Mae Hong Son 1

The bridge, called Su Tong Pae or “fulfilled prayer”, in Tambon Pang Moo, buckled under the weight of more than 500 people as they were offering “Devorohana” alms marking the end of the Buddhist Lent.

Permwittaya Kantasong, chief of Mae Hong Son Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said people had gathered at the famous bridge to offer alms to 29 monks when the accident occurred. The 500-metre bridge across the Mae Sa Nga River, which links the Phusama Buddhist Meditation Park and Ban Kung Mai Sak, collapsed at 7.30am with 500 people on it.

The weight of so many people reportedly snapped the cables, pulling down the main pillars, and resulting in the bridge almost hitting the river, he added.

Mae Hong Son 3

Two monks and eight laypersons were injured. One victim, 37-year-old Bangkok tourist Chatrit Jiranyapreuk, sustained brain injuries and had to be airlifted to the better-equipped Nakhonping Hospital in Chiang Mai province.

A source said the section of the bridge that collapsed had previously been damaged by flash floods and reopened for use in the middle of this month after repairs. The bridge is being inspected.

Source: The Nation

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