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Jobs for most still among Phuket's resort workers

'No Mass Layoffs' Among Phuket Resorts

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Not so happy New Year Despite rate cuts, hotels in northern Thailand expect more than 6000 layoffs immediately after the Songkran festival, says Kanong Suvannavisutr, president of the Thai Hotels Association Northern Chapter.

PHUKET does not seem likely to suffer mass layoffs in the tourist industry, although tempestuous 2009 is a year free from guarantees of any kind.

Thai Hotels Association president Prakit Chinamourphong warned this week that as many as 50,000 jobs will be lost in Thailand's tourism industry in the second half of the year.

Somboon Jirayus, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, told Phuketwan that there certainly were risks that staff might be laid off.

But resorts were trying to shave costs without losing staff. He says there have been some layoffs, but none on a large scale.

Most of the layoffs have been of casual or part-time staff, to begin with.

Occupancy rates for April seemed to be around 70 percent to 80 percent, with the boost provided by the Songkran-Easter holiday.

However, from May to July was likely to bring a period of uncertainty.

''I can't say whether or not there will be layoffs,'' he said. ''The Phuket Tourist Association continues to seek new markets.''

China was one example, he said.

Occupancy rates for the first quarter of the year were down around 25-30 percent, he said.

The chief of Phuket Labor Office, Suttipong Saisakares, told Phuketwan that to the end of February, layoffs on the island amounted to 212.

The figure was recorded through the social insurance scheme. He said that some of those people would find new jobs in March or April.

There was no detectable sudden increase in layoffs in March so far, he added.

''If a resort decides to lose a lot of staff, we will hear about it for sure,'' he said. ''There has been no indication of that happening so far.''

Phuketwan has heard of staff being asked to take additional unpaid leave each month, as a method of preserving jobs in difficult times.

Most resort managements are keen to keep trained workers in expectation that good times will return.

Phuket does not seem to be suffering to the same degree as Bangkok and some other tourist destinations within Thailand.

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Tuesday April 23, 2019
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