“I have asked local police in Phuket to let me know if there is any Finn in trouble or having an accident somewhere around Phuket, the popular tourist destination, so I can manage to give them assistance,” said Pamuke Achariyachai when he described his main task as the Honorary General Consul of Finland in Phuket.
Major responsibility of the consul is to assist Finns who want or need help in any circumstance when they are on sunny holidays on the west-coast island and other provinces nearby. The Finnish consular office in Phuket is for the general assistance of tourists only. For those who want to apply for visa or any related issue on official documents, they have to go to the Embassy in Bangkok for that.
“Actually, if there was any matter that we at the consulate can help, we are appreciated to help not only Finns but also other nationalities if they need it as well,” Pamuke continues.
Pamuke, the first Thai who got this honor position, is the famous businessman and also the president of Kata Group, the resort business chain in the south.
“I am the owner of Phuket Orchid Hotel and the hotel became the center for helping Tsunami-affected people in Phuket during the Tsunami. Thousand of Thai and tourist together stayed at the hotel during the evacuation, and lot of them were Scandinavians,” Pamuke recalls the chronicle.
“Approximately 3,000 Finns were on the west coast at the time of the Tsunami, and many of them stayed at the hotel and waited to be evacuated back to their home country. That made the Finnish Ambassador to Thailand impressed with my contribution,” utters Pamuk as the reason which led to his appointment and set up of the Consulate General in Phuket Orchid Hotel.
After the Tsunami, the Prime Minister of Finland, Matti Vanhanen, came to Thailand to visit the devastated area. Later, the Prime Minister along with the Finnish Ambassador to Thailand visited Pamuke and all the hotel staffs to thank for all instances of helping.
The government of Finland saw the potential from the Phuket Orchid Hotel so the government decided to rent 60 rooms for a one-year period, during 2005, as an information center for not-founded Finnish victims of the Tsunami. It also served as a Finnish press station for all Tsunami-related news.
The number of tourist from Finland to the island in southern Thailand tends to be upward every year. During this coming high season from October to April, ten flights a week head directly from Finland to Phuket which is another reason that will increase the trend.
“Finns and other Scandinavians always look for a sunny place during winter. So Phuket is a good choice as a guarantee-warmed destination to enjoy with reasonable price. The consular office is ready to help Finn in the west coast one way or another, they can come to knock the door anytime,” ends the consul.
Honorary Consulate General of Finland in Phuket at Phuket Orchid Hotel
Karon Beach 1, Pakbang Road, Phuket.