Chinese acrobats to help pay for airport interpreters
PHUKET: Acrobats and magicians from Fujian Province in China are scheduled to perform a charity event at Siam Niramit Theatre on August 14.
Marque A. Rome
Friday 3 August 2012, 05:23PM
Proceeds from the performance by the 31-member troupe will go to a fund created to hire interpreters to assist officials at Phuket International Airport in processing arrival forms for tourists.
“The great number of tourists arriving at Phuket airport sometimes results in long waits because the number of officials available to process entry is insufficient,” explained Southern Thai Hotels Association chief Suchat Hirankanokkul.
“So private sector associations have banded together to find funding for volunteer interpreters to be stationed at the airport to help tourists fill out entry forms, especially the TM 6 form (departure/arrival card).”
He said he is confident that if these forms were all filled out before visitors reached the Immigration desks, “it would speed up processing considerably and impress tourists, so that Phuket may continue as a popular tourism destination forever.”
Phuket International Airport Immigration head Pol Col Asawin Naksawat noted that his officers process 10,000 tourists daily.
“We have installed 10 or more monitors with information assistance on filling out TM 6 forms, increased the number of administrative officers assigned to help tourists during peak periods, and put in tables for their convenience,” he said.
“By these means we expect to mitigate the problem of long waits, but if interpreters are on standby to explain how forms should be filled out, and ensure that they are filled out correctly before [being handed to] officials, it must have a positive effect on reducing problems arising from mis-communication, and thereby make officials’ work go faster.”
Tickets for the Fujian Visits Phuket show at Siam Niramit are priced at B500 to B1,500. They are available from the theatre, from the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, the Phuket Industrial Council, and the Hokkien Association. The doors open at 5.30pm, with the 90-minute show beginning at 7pm.
Fujian, on the coast of southeastern China, is home to the Hakka and Hokkien dialects spoken (more or less) by most of Phuket’s ethnic Chinese. The province was one of the chief suppliers of Chinese labourers to Phuket during the island’s tin-mining heyday.
The event is sponsored jointly by the Southern Thai Hotels Association, the Phuket Industrial Council, the People’s Republic of China Chinese Language Study Foundation, the Hokkien Association of Phuket, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Fujian Cultural Centre, and Hua Chiao University.