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Tourism Minister  Somsak Pureesrisak listed Phuket's 13 problems this week with Senate Select Committee on Tourism chair Senator Tunyaratt Achariyachai and local officials to improve Phuket's popular beaches

Action on 'Phuket 13' Must Follow

Sunday, June 16, 2013
Phuket News Analysis

PHUKET: Phuket is ready to change. But what has to disappear before Phuket can become the better place it should be is this notion of change coming in small steps.

One of Governor Maitree Intrusud's Phuket predecessors suggested phasing out jet-skis over seven years. Nobody needs reminding how lame that slow and steady approach proved to be.

The ''step by step'' strategy inevitably leads Phuket sideways or backwards. And for Phuket now, the clock is ticking. Time is running out.

From the series of top-level talks on Phuket over the past month must spring what the Chinese Ambassador suggested: regular meetings and action committees to push the changes through.

Restoring the gatherings of honorary consuls will achieve nothing. The impact of those meetings was always blunted by misreported minutes and poor media coverage.

Shamefully, there are still people in high positions on Phuket who remain determined to keep Phuket relatively unchanged, people in denial, people who need to be forced to confront reality.

They see the world in terms of us and them and fail to acknowledge that the tourists and expats who visit and live on Phuket are entitled to express their opinions and to receive equally fair treatment.

In the simplest of terms, the corrupt and complacent island attitudes must be replaced by transparency and action. Otherwise, Phuket's future will grow even murkier.

What has to happen is for Phuket's governor and other authorities to actively seek out and involve international expertise in finding solutions for Phuket's problems.

Taking our lead from the recent inspiring words of Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada, Phuketwan's new motto is ''Brave Enough to Change.''

We suggest Governor Maitree takes the same approach to heart as he structures the action committees that Phuket needs to solve its problems.

Expertise and advice from China, Europe, Australia and other countries is available and will be forthcoming.

But first, the governor has to understand that Phuket is now an international place that must adopt international standards, while at the same time remaining uniquely Thai.

Forming action committees of international and Thai representatives to pursue answers to Phuket's problems is what must happen.

Phuketwan rates corruption as Phuket's biggest problem, even above taxis and tuk-tuks.

But we are content for now to accept the 13 issues put forward by Minister for Tourism and Sport, Somsak Pureesrisak, as Phuket's problems.

And we suggest that when he and ambassadors from many countries meet in Bangkok on June 28, a strategy is discussed that will set up multinational teams to seek solutions for each of them.

The governor should be there, too. Here are the minister's 13 issues. Each needs a multinational action plan:

1. Increasing airport arrivals, poor infrastructure

2. Traffic

3. No controlling strategy, development occurring all over

4. Environmental degradation

5. Attacks on beaches and public land

6. Garbage mounting

7. Bad water

8. Tourists' and residents' safety and security

9. Rip-offs (timeshare touts etc.)

10. Tour guides

11. Authorities at odds with private sector

12. Taxis and jet-skis

13. Zero baht tours

With a little help from its friends, Phuket can look forward to a great future. The time to begin work on that future is now.

Comments

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Agree Ed wholeheartedly

Posted by slickmelb on June 17, 2013 02:32

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Nr 14.
And some CCTV Camera inside Phuket Immigration, not outside they have 2 already.

Posted by Wonder on June 17, 2013 07:11

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Answer to number 2 = busses. Answer to number 5 = enforcement to the perpetrator instead of taking tea money. Answer to number 6= stop putting every little item in plastic bags. Do like they do in Penang and stop handing put bags, unless you pay for it. Fine 5000 baht on the spot for littering, and start giving the hotel guests the chance to refill their water bottles instead of putting new bottles in fridges every day.

Posted by Charles on June 17, 2013 10:33

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Okay now for some Chang powered philosophy:

Let's look at the other side of the coin:

Your country has a tropical island destination which has an ever increasing number of tourists....most indigenous people are making a reasonable living and most probably don't really care too much about the so called issues which seem to be important to the "foreigners".
So along comes a bunch of so called democratic all knowing Eurocrats and media that presume to give advice as to how you should solve your tourism problems and issues?
Most of these countries, history tells us, have abused, used and exploited practically every 'ism in the book for time immemorial?
Okay....Farang tink too much?

Posted by david on June 17, 2013 14:55

Editor Comment:

That's certainly a view that some people take. But a growing number of people within the tourism industry have come to the conclusion that Phuket has to change. It would certainly help if the local media showed greater interest in tourism issues, and connected their readers with the importance it plays in their future prosperity. Whether international help is accepted is secondary to the acceptance that change has to come, and quickly. China will turn off the tap if improvements are not made. The word ''international'' really needs to replace ''foreign.''

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David, get out a bit more!

Posted by Harald on June 17, 2013 16:02


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