A SEMINAR on the outlook for tourism and jobs will be held at Royal Phuket City Hotel on February 23, with a headline appearance by the Minister for Labor.
By then, some of the trends for 2009 that will have an impact on the five Andaman tourist provinces should be apparent.
Region-wide, a sense of apprehension about the low season is evident among resort managers and tourism-related businesses.
This high season is considered to be well below the past couple of high seasons in terms of numbers of visitors and revenue. However, most of the evidence for this is anecdotal.
The Minister for Labor, Paitoon Kaewthong, should be able to give the Andaman summit the big picture viewpoint of the new national government.
While the high season has been good enough to ensure that no serious job losses have taken place in tourism, portents for March and beyond are not as good.
On the jobs front, the head of the Phuket Labor Office, Suttipong Saisakares, told Phuketwan that there were positions vacant on Phuket.
But people with the right kind of experience for the positions were often lacking, he said.
Every month on average, about 1200 positions were available through the Labor office, with about 360 to 400 applicants.
The Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of Labor Protection and Welfare, Anuchon Varnisathien, said that 17 companies had laid off 171 staff, according to official figures, in the past 12 months.
Resorts remained keen to keep good staff, he said.
However, anecdotally, many companies have reduced working hours or extra pay benefits and allowed attrition to take care of declining business.
People in the resort business have been warned not to extend credit beyond their base-salary capacity to pay or to take financial risks until the outlook for the rest of the year becomes clear.
Forward bookings beyond March remain uncertain across most resorts.