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The Senate committee checks a Phuket beach yesterday

LIVE Summit: Minister's 13 Phuket Problems

Thursday, June 13, 2013
LIVE News Update: Minister Lists 13 Phuket Problems

PHUKET: Phuketwan articles were being projected onto a large screen today at the Phuket beaches summit as an indication of how Phuket was being reported to tourists around the world.

Thailand's Minister for Tourism and Sport, Somsak Pureesrisak, was at the gathering with the members of the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism and Phuket officials.

All mayors are there, as well as Phuket's Governor, police, Immigration and local people, making up a gathering of about 300 people.

The senators yesterday toured Phuket's west coast beaches to see for themselves the environmental problems that have occured with increasing commercialisation.

During high season, most of Phuket's famous beaches disappear under row after row of beach umbrellas and lounges. Encroachment is increasing.

Like the equally precious coral reefs, Phuket's beaches are coming under unbearable pressure from mass tourism.

The chair of the Senate committee, Senator Tunyaratt Achariyachai, is scheduled to explain the issues associated with Phuket's beaches to the gathering at the Kata Beach Resort.

With sustainability likely to emerge as the real issue, some officials are attempting to blame the ''foreign media'' for depicting Phuket's beaches in a poor light.

The Tourism Minister's List of Phuket's 13 Problems


THE MINISTER said that Phi Phi, Phangan, Samui, Patong, Phuket Town and Cape Promthep already had additional funding set aside for improvements in the national government's 2015 budget.

He said Phuket's problems were illustrated by the tourists who came up to the touring senators yesterday to complain at Kamala beach.

''We have to solve these problems,'' he said. ''The main issue is that Phuket has had a sudden surge in tourism without proper infrastructure.''

He then listed his 13 Phuket problems as follows:

1. Increasing 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

''I came to Phuket a long time ago and now, basically nothing has changed,'' the minister said. ''The problems have never been solved.

''We had the news this week that Patong was flooded. These things happen because you people have blocked the canals. If you do these things, you get what you deserve.

The Number 1 problem is taxis and tuk-tuks outside resorts and hotels. They band together in gangs and abuse people. They won't allow competition.

''When police arrest a taxi driver, politicians come to bail them out. I don't want to let this continue to happen.

''I have reported this matter to the Thai Royal Police chief. We are going to fight it.''

He added that jet-ski rip-offs continued to be a problem. ''Insurance was a good idea but it did not work completely,'' he said.

The problems was ''too big for the governors,'' he said.

The meeting is continuing.

[Phuketwan is a Thai news outlet with a Thai and international audience. The site has a strong record of accurate reporting and has won international awards. Phuketwan has a reputation for pursuing issues of human rights, public safety, environmental degradation and corruption.
Phuketwan has advocated the establishment of an independent Phuket Beach Authority to protect and preserve all Phuket beaches, free from greed and corruption. ]

Comments

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I hope they took a walk along Kamala beach it's mess where the beach restaurants used to be!

Posted by LJ on June 13, 2013 12:18

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I see the light start shining.. but if this tuk tuk problem not get solved now it will never be..

Posted by frog on June 13, 2013 12:42

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Within the past few days I've been in Singapore, Australia and Philippines. Many ask where I come from and when I tell them I live on Phuket, they ask me what I think of it.

Describing the typical Phuket problems surprisingly about half of the 10 or so people I spoke with said they have heard the same from other travelers and residents.

All these people work at locations likely to get in contact with a lot of travelers but I was surprised about how widespread the word of mouth about Phuket apparently is.

Spreading the word is a small thing everyone of us can do and eventually the elephant in the room will grow too big to ignore.

These are interesting times for Phuket. It's do or die.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 13, 2013 14:42

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Sums it up completely and good to hear from a Thai politician- "These things happen because you people have blocked the canals. If you do these things, you get what you deserve."

THIS is how we will get results- nothing will change whilst people comment over and over again about the same old things on foreign language forums.

It needs Thais to take the lead and there seems to be a strong interest from Khun Veera in Kathu, to the Governor's level and on to Bangkok to seize the mettle.

Break the control of the little oligarchs who are ruining their fiefdoms for short term gain and move forward.

Posted by Mister Ree on June 13, 2013 15:50

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At last, is that a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

Posted by eezergood on June 13, 2013 17:33

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Foreign media have only echoed sentiments from the many tourists that visit Phuket every year, who have vented their concerns that the administration lack the will to seriously address many issues raised in the past. Naturally this has given the Island undue media attention. Let's hope something positive will come out from this recent visit.

Posted by reader on June 14, 2013 11:58

Editor Comment:

We don't believe in the word ''foreign,'' reader. It's used often in Thailand to demark divisions that don't really exist any more. When it comes to media, we think ''international'' is probably a fairer and more accurate term. Phuket is also now an international island, not a foreign one. Breaking down the false barriers created by some to promote nationalistic fervor would be good for Phuket, and good for Thailand.


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