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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Koh Samui Rumours and other news

As with last months Newsletter let me deal with the rumours first. This is scuttlebutt of course but interesting if it is true and I have heard this from more than one source. Are we going to get a second airport or not? My impression is that it is highly unlikely, however word on the wire has it that a certain low cost carrier is acquiring land in Don Sak for the purpose of building an airport there and providing a fast ferry service to Koh Samui. As Mr Ripley says “Believe it or not!”

It has taken them some time but the Samak government seem to be making some positive noises to make foreign investment more attractive. They have stated that the amendments to the Foreign Business Act that were proposed by the previous military backed regime will be scrapped. They are also reducing the minimum number of shareholders required in a company from seven to three so only two Thai shareholders will be required and the need to find a number of other shareholders who may or may not be legitimate is removed. There will also be reduced requirements in respect of the registration of the Memorandum of Association which can be done in one day instead of between nine and twenty one days plus the easing of requirements for the passing of special resolutions. More detail on this in the article reprinted below.

In last months Newsletter I discussed the situation with the application for Koh Samui to gain City Status and gave my reasons why I did not think it would happen. It appears I was not far wrong as latest reports state that the Interior Ministry has rejected the proposal. It did not specify the reasons for rejecting the proposal but apparently listed a number of options that might be taken. These have not been reported. More news on this as it becomes available. However, there is growing discontent among the local population that revenues from the islands number one industry, tourism, are not being used to improve the infrastructure in particular the roads. With local elections for the vacant post of Mayor outstanding this may become a focal point.

Every time you turn around there seems to be a new name added to the list of major hotel operators coming to Koh Samui. Conrad, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Banyan Tree, Dusit D2, Hard Rock Hotel, Ibis, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental, Sheraton (as Vana Belle), and then we seem to be running out of real names as we get the likes of U, W, X2 closely followed by IMM. The list goes on with Alila Hansar, Prana Samui, The Sarann, Saree Samui, Sirimaya (an Amari Hotel), and possibly also Club Med! A number of these have not announced the number of rooms they will be adding but of those that have I can see in excess of 1600 new rooms being added to the Koh Samui inventory so I suspect when all the facts are known we are looking at in excess of 2,000 by 2011.

Sometimes we get a little blas̩ about living on a tropical island surrounded by Coconut Palms and blue waters and which most of the time has an idyllic climate far away from the rain and cold of our European origins. Then something happens to remind us how lucky we are. This happened to me last week as I was driving over a hill in Taling Ngam. As I came over the brow I was confronted by the scene shown in the photograph on the left. The photograph really does not do the panorama justice but that is more to do with my photographic skills more usually employed snapping villas! Even after eight years here, Koh Samui can still surprise me Рin the right way!

For the sailors amongst you the Seventh Koh Samui Regatta will be held this month between the 1st and 7th of June.
For the golfers the Bangkok Airways Open 2008 is being held between the 5th and 8th June at Santiburi Golf Club.

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