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Burmese are finding better jobs as Phuket tourism booms

Phuket 'Triple Tourism' Boom Needs Strategy, Says MP

Sunday, March 6, 2011
PHUKET desperately needs more skilled workers in the tourism industry, Phuket MP Tossaporn Thepabutr said this week. And he issued a dramatic warning about Phuket's tourism growth.

''Within 10 years, the number of tourists visiting Phuket is likely to have increased three times over,'' he said.

A strategy is in place to expand Phuket airport to 12.5 million or even 15 million passengers coming and going, roughly twice the seven million who arrived and departed in 2010.

Three times seven million would take the number to 21 million, yet there is no space for the Phuket airport to be enlarged beyond the planned expansion.

Khun Tossaporn said that people needed to become aware of the problems that Phuket is likely to face in the near future.

''The Education Ministry urgently needs to open more schools that offer studies connected with the tourism industry,'' Khun Tossaporn said.

Farming and the tourism industry were two careers that suited Thais, he said.

He added that because not enough people were being trained for jobs in the tourism industry, Burmese were taking jobs in resorts and hotels.

Most of them were lowly-paid positions as gardeners or cleaners, but those who spoke better English were also finding work as waiters, he said.

The situation of Burmese taking on jobs in tourism would grow unless more Thais were trained, he said. Recent estimates of Burmese working illegally and legally on Phuket range as high as 200,000.
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'Within 10 years, the number of tourists visiting Phuket is likely to have increased three times over,'' he said.
By giving too much optimistic informations as a 3-folds increase in tourist arrival, there will be will be negative aspects for Phuket such as:
- Landowners will put the prices up for the lands; therefore local Thai people will not be able to buy their homes as salaries are ridiculous compared to the price of living in Phuket. A Bachelor Degree worker is offered a 12,000 Baht salary at start.
- More poor Thai people or lawless businessmen living in other provinces will come to Phuket to grab some shares of incoming money in the tourism industry with Mafia-gangs controlling lucrative businesses through intimidation.
- More greedy opportunist foreigners will set up businesses at the expenses of Thai people as we may see it today in the diving industry.
Before increasing tourist arrival, a masterplan should be set up to cope with it such as:
- New routes, expressways and public transport.
- More civil servants and in particular more police officers.
- Setting up a Committee Against Corruption (CAC Phuket) to fight flagrant corruption in Phuket as too many people use bribes to make a lot of money.
- More control by the Revenue Department in order that all taxes are collected properly.
- To create Industrial Zones.
- Phuket, Phang-Nga Krabi should be grouped to be be a regional tourism and economic zone to improve efficiency to implement economic policy.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on March 6, 2011 11:02


'Within 10 years, the number of tourists visiting Phuket is likely to have increased three times over,' he said.

I do not believe this to be true, since this statement seems to assume that existing, influencing factors will not change.

The island is failing right now to provide a 'quality' service for the tourists who visit. As more and more potential visitors to our island learn of the low standards of service and unchecked exploitation of tourists by certain tuk-tuk drivers and jetski operators, so will decrease the numbers of tourists who visit Phuket.

There is the additional factor of competing resorts and countries in this region. If the only choice for a tourist was to visit Phuket, then perhaps we could still expect to see increasing numbers of (unhappy) visitors to Phuket.

But there are many alternative destinations to visit, which may offer a better quality of service to the tourist, or may offer an acceptable level of service at a bargain price.

The bottom line is: Phuket is competing for the tourist dollar, and to be successful in this, it must consistently offer something that beats the competition in all areas - price, quality of service, multilingual, knowledgable tour guides, unbiased police force, decent, affordable transport system, an environmental policy/regulations that is actually enforced etc etc

Now which of the above can Phuket tick the checkboxes for?

So rest easy Khun Tossaporn, because that increase in tourist numbers ain't going to happen

Posted by Simon Luttrell on March 6, 2011 11:52


"He added that because not enough people were being trained for jobs in the tourism industry, Burmese were taking jobs in resorts and hotels."

What rubbish, the Burmese are not trained either but as they speak relatively good English, resorts are more inclined to employ them, many of them at front of house. They learn by experience and then progress. Thais are rather more lazy when it comes to learning English, hence the lack of them. Wasting money opening more schools is not the answer, just add tourism to the school curriculum, although, as always, it's too late in the day.

Posted by Pete on March 6, 2011 12:40


''Within 10 years, the number of tourists visiting Phuket is likely to have increased three times over,'' he said.

- on basis of what facts is the number of tourists "likely" grow so much?

Dream on!

Posted by Hockey on March 7, 2011 11:42

Editor Comment:

Dream, or nightmare?


Nightmare. You'd be constantly faced with issues and problems most people want to get away from when they go on a holiday.

Sure Singapore is only 30 percent larger than Phuket and has 5m people but it's infrastructure is perhaps the most efficient in the world.

They have strict rules and people abide by them. That's the only way to control such a dense population.

It'll never work in Thailand because many Thais define their freedom as the ability to do whatever the heck they want, no matter what the rules or law says.

Penang is similar to Phuket and has over 900.000 people. It's infrastructure is also vastly superior to Phuket.

I don't want to see Phuket turn into Singapore but if those in power really want it to happen, then they'd better start implementing and enforcing the same policies applied in Singapore.


Posted by Chris on March 7, 2011 23:07


How sad for Phuket. I am pleased that I visited Phuket when it was still charming (and again when it was not). Been there done that, and I won't be back. Why fly all the way to Phuket when I can have the same chaos, mass tourism and binge-drinking Brits in Spain? If I wanted it, that is. Maldives, here I come.

Posted by MAF on March 30, 2011 19:36

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