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Bugs in the system still spoil Phuket's jobs outlook

Phuket Jobs Safer Now But Recovery is an Illusion

Monday, February 8, 2010
JOBS are probably safe at resorts on Phuket as the island's tourism outlook improves, says Mathee Tanmanatragul, President of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association.

But that really depends on Thailand being seen as a stable destination through 2010, he adds.

While the record number of tourists coming through Phuket International Airport in January is a heartening sign, the island's economy is still hurting.

''The island always has had an over-supply of rooms available,'' Khun Mathee says. ''Even five or six years ago, the maximum occupancy rate we could achieve was 80 to 85 percent.''

The influx of visitors to Phuket in 2010 has come about primarily because the island, through discounting and crisis marketing, is great value for money.

People in Europe are still taking holidays, spending cautiously on what they see as a basic need. However, other factors conspire to restrict the revenue benefits.

Visitors who take the cheap packages are not big spenders. They are never going to be big tippers, nor do they appreciate the excessive fares charged on Phuket for tuk-tuks and taxis.

So while the number of tourists arriving at Phuket airport is a rough guide as to whether times are good or bad, subtler calibrations are required to determine whether the island is actually prospering.

And there will always be paradoxes. It's great, for instance, that major brands consider Phuket to be a good long-term investment prospect, and that local brands continue to plan new resorts.

But the faith in the island's future inevitably leads to an oversupply of rooms.

Resorts will usually try everything to avoid a reduction in rates.

But after the 2004 tsunami, and again in different circumstances after the economic crisis and political uncertainty of 2008-2009, discounting became essential for survival.

While the Andaman coast and Sri Lanka were the only tourist destinations seriously affected by the tsunami, virtually every tourist label in the world felt the reverberations of the economic downturn.

So tourists these days have a much wider choice of destinations.

Some of them see the additionally high cost of food and transport on Phuket and calculate that, when everything is taken into consideration, there are places that are better value for money.

The restoration of room rates to previous levels, never an easy task at the best of times, becomes even more difficult on Phuket where just one part of the industry bears the high cost of discounts and marketing.

Other parts assume they are entitled to a handsome living, whether times are bad or good.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


We left the next night, we had planned to stay the full 21 days but we failed to budget 1000 baht a day for the tuk tuk..Can I recommend the east coast, still unspoiled and far cheaper?

Posted by bill tredy on February 12, 2010 01:54


Let see on 12-14 March and beyond what will happen with the 100,000 trucks and 1 million Red Shirts supporters which will be in Bangkok according by Red-Shirts leaders few days ago.

1/- Red-Shirt Supporters are not enough in number and the government is in full control without the help of military force: that may be the end of Taksin era but division will be for years ahead about what to do next for a reconciliation between Thai people and political groups.

2/- Red-Shirt supporters are in large number and are unable by force/uprising to grab the power: Abhisit's government may have to request the army force for help to stop it to continuous weeks after weeks, legitimizing Taksin's claim that Abhisit's government is an army force's puppet and no end in view will be on.

3/- Red-Shirt supporters are in large number and are able by force/uprising to put down the Abhisit's government: Yellow Shirts supporters will fight on and a military coup may be following to stop an eventual civil war.

So whatsoever will happen in the coming weeks, Thai people and tourism economy will suffer for a while.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on February 28, 2010 19:08


Nobody is "entitled" to a handsome living, unless they're talented and hard-working. The mentality of charging totally excessive prices to tourists just because they're a "captive market", as in Phuket, is not an entitlement, it's pure greed and should in fact be a crime.

Second criticism: A holiday on the other side of the world is not "a basic need" of anyone. Find somewhere closer to home and you'll save massively on the airfare alone.

Third: Near the top of the article, you claim that "Phuket is great value for money" and then you contradict yourself later on with "the additionally high cost of food and transport on Phuket [means] that, when everything is taken into consideration, there are places that are better value for money".

Fourth, it's not just tourists on a budget who find the high prices charged by Phuket tuk-tuks and taxis objectionable. Being so much higher than anywhere else in Thailand, the reason is obviously pure greed and mafia-like anti-competitive practices.

Posted by Anonymous on March 12, 2010 12:55

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