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Celebrating NY 2009 on Phuket, now a market for alternative ownership

'Alternative' Phuket Fest Dispels Time-Share Myths

Friday, September 4, 2009
AN INTERNATIONAL conference on alternative property ownership is to be held on Phuket in October, which is especially appropriate because the island is alive with debate right now.

Next month, worldwide interest will be turning towards the island . . . just as local scrutiny of time-share and overseas investment is growing more intense.

Like it or not, Phuket has become a test-bed for some of the concepts of so-called ''alternative ownership'' models, as well as world-class tawdry marketing.

Recently, the views of a Thailand Research Fund-sponsored team were misrepresented in a national newspaper heading that shouted ''Foreigners 'own 90pc of Phuket beach land.'''

That just isn't true, yet some people still seem to prefer to believe that it is true.

To clear the air of rumors and ignorance and misinformation, that team of TRF investigators should be high on the list of those invited to participate at the alternative ownership conference next month.

After two years of asking questions, the investigators retain serious reservations about overseas control of property on Phuket, and one of their special concerns is time share.

So when it comes to fractional ownership, mixed use of property, holiday and vacation clubs, Phuket is challenging conventional approaches in more ways than one.

A media release announcing the October 12-13 conference, first of its kind in this part of the world, puts it neatly: ''Thailand is a strong potential market in Asia Pacific for shared ownership models . . . as well as being a strong market for property investment in Asia.''

The conference is scheduled at the Millennium Resort in Patong, which is also appropriate, because Patong happens to be Ground Zero for some of the issues that surround time-share and high-pressure marketing.

Walking near the Millennium recently, I was hassled twice in the space of 100 metres by time-share touts on motorcycles.

Most tourists visiting Patong rate tuk-tuks and high tuk-tuk fares as their Number One complaint.

Yet the tuk-tuk drivers in neighboring Karon actually complained to Phuketwan recently about their Number One gripe, the time share touts.

The street touting gives the entire ''alternative ownership'' industry a bad name, turning off 999 people for every potential sale.

Touting also rebounds badly on the island as a tourists destination. People don't visit Phuket to be harassed by touts on foot or on motorcycles or to be told: ''Take my photo, I look good today'' by irritating street salesmen.

Many visitors, annoyed at these constant intrusions by pests who will not go away, resolve never to return. Why these shabby practices are necessary remains a mystery.

Most people interpret it as a sign of desperation, which is how they perceive Patong's notorious tailor touts, too.

Yet the majority of people involved in ''alternative ownership'' on the island don't feel the need to resort to touting their wares in this way.

Those practitioners in the island's north largely rely on the quality of their brands and products.

Unfortunately the TRF researchers only talked to local authorities and other interested parties around the south of the island, and in Patong, so their views reflect the perception of time-share as being low-rent.

The truth is that these days, it's anything but.

Time-share on Phuket has taken on new respectability with the involvement of quality brands such as Marriott Vacation Club, Laguna Holiday Club and the West Sands Phuket Beach Club.

All those brands, though, are based on the island's north, where the TRF team did not venture. If they had, some of their misconceptions about foreign investment and time-share may have dissipated.

For a start, ''time share,'' which has many alternative guises these days, is not just for expats.

The Laguna Holiday Club, for example, has a huge and growing number of Thai members who enjoy the opportunity to extend their short-term jaunts to Phuket.

To suggest that Laguna Phuket and the Marriott group are planning on dodging taxes or their future obligations when it comes to the environment is ludicrous.

Fractional ownership and so called ''mixed use'' are other options in the field of alternative ownership. To learn more about these and the worldwide view, the team from TRF should book their places now for the Alternative Ownership Conference for Hotels and Resorts - Asia Pacific.

More information can be found at

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


For sure a lot of properties in Phuket is owned 100% by foreigners via Thai nominees !
How many companies owned 49% by foreigners own land ?? I will bet quite a big amount on that they own more then the 49% via nominees !

Posted by peter on September 6, 2009 15:31

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