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Sometimes the departure lounge at Phuket airport can even seem appealing

Phuket Dreams of Balancing Arrivals

Monday, June 9, 2014
PHUKET: It is June 9, 2024. We arrive back on Phuket for a holiday, 10 years on from the 'New Phuket' revolution.

The revolution began when the island's angry envoys and tourists rose up as one against extortion, intimidation and environmental destruction.

Back in 2014, the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers quickly fell into line. Those who wanted to work continued in metered taxis that were able to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere on the island.

The layabouts mostly returned to their home provinces.

Transformation on the beaches was even more speedy and remarkable.

With the foreshores restored to their original natural growth and the Royal Thai Navy providing lifeguards and regular patrols enforcing laws against jet-ski rip-offs and littering, Kamala, Kata, Karon and Patong all look great now.

Once corruption was stopped in the marine parks and a daily limit was applied on the number of visitors to Phi Phi and other beautiful spots, the coral reefs quickly returned to the color and the glory of 2004.

Some of the polluters who pumped black water into Phuket's bays are also just about to complete their 10-year terms in Phuket's modern four-to-a-cell prison . . .

Oh, did somebody say it was time to wake up? Sorry, it was such a beautiful dream. You're going to tell me it was all just a fantasy.

You say taxi and tuk-tuk drivers really did get arrested? Phuket actually did adopt a sensible transport system?

My, that's good news.

FOR THOSE who worry about Phuket becoming too popular and the invasion of too many tourists destroying the beaches and the reefs, the figures of arrivals and departures through Phuket International Airport so far this year are also good news.

The total rose just 0.22 percent in May, which is a whole lot better for the island environment than a rise of, say, 22 percent.

A levelling off in passenger numbers provides a chance for authorities and the infrastructure to catch up.

Despite the street protest confrontation in Bangkok followed by the coup, international passengers to Phuket rose by a gentle 1.32 percent while domestic travel dipped by 1.08 percent.

The May total of 809,583 took the January-May figure to 5,138,252, up by 5.37 percent.

Given the pain and suffering being endured in Bangkok, Phuket remains extremely fortunate.

Those who are only concerned about their own income are bound to be unhappy. Expect complaints from all the island's condo builders, and their bankers.

Meanwhile, we'll go back to that dream . . .

Coup commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha today set a limit on the number of tourists who could visit Phuket, declaring that the preservation of the beaches and coral reefs for his children and grandchildren was vital to Thailand's future.

The general also declared that the international holiday destination was the perfect province in which to start a campaign to outlaw corruption and create a role model for the rest of the country.

''Phuket will be the place where the new, corruption-free Thailand has its beginnings,'' he said in his weekly television broadcast.


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Melnichenko's $350 million yacht was one of 35 luxury vessels to visit in 2013, spending NZ$185 million ($157 million) on refits and repairs and NZ$95 million on tourism. Prime Minister John Key wants to double both numbers by 2018.
Just calculate per vessel...
Melnichenko vessel has been spotted near Phuket few years ago..

And let's Phuket set a right target...

Posted by Sue on June 9, 2014 18:17

Editor Comment:

Yes, perhaps he could safeguard the lives of many have-nothing Rohingya boatpeople by carrying them south in comfort.

Does everything come down to money, Sue? Some of the richest people have been history's meanest. Not a lot has changed. Is he a Bill Gates type? Or just a wealth accumulator?

If he has everything he needs on his yacht, how does the local community benefit? What did he do to spend $95 million on NZ tourism?

Are you suggesting he buys Patong?



I cited the news above exclusively in the context of tourism strategy for Phuket, namely, in part of attracting "quality tourists" , "high-spenders" and so on.
To get a result of attracting high-spenders, a plan - a strategy - is needed, but to draft a strategy it is necessary to be competent on a subject - to know who high-spenders are and what do they need - as for me this part of competence seems to be lacking.

Melnichenko is just an example, there were 34 other luxury vessels of similar profile last year in BZ waters.

The current discussion is about economy , namely tourism, so it us about what services can be sold - it is not about charity.
In addition, money are better earned, than received as a gift - so always ultimate focus should be employment or other relevant economics metrics.

NZ strategy sounds well designed, and it seems that they will be successful with it as they try to understand a customer of that target group:

"Prime Minister John Key wants to double both numbers [of luxury vessels] by 2018.

Facing a September election, Key is seeking to boost tourism, skilled services and manufacturing to diversify an economy reliant on dairy exports and squeezed by an elevated currency. Part of the effort is aimed at reversing a slump in boat building and fitting in the wake of the global financial crisis and luring more super rich to New Zealand's shores.

''Their spend per person is significantly different from any other tourists,'' said Murray McCaw, co-owner of the Bay of Many Coves resort in the Marlborough Sounds, whose intricate waterways, islands and secluded beaches are promoted as a boaties' paradise. '' That high-yielding tourist is a really important part of the international tourism economy for New Zealand.''

Posted by Sue on June 9, 2014 19:41


Sue, this "quality tourist" obsession reminds me of another one: that the rich people only want to limit natality in poor countries to perpetuate their quality of life.
Do you belong to the 1%?
Should we block people from entering Phuket under a certain amount of wealth?

Posted by william on June 9, 2014 22:54


A wishful dream that has a nightmare ending - the military junta still in control after 10 years.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on June 10, 2014 05:15

Editor Comment:

We'll leave the nightmares to you, Simon.


I'm with the ed on this one. What is this fascination with wealth and 'high quality' tourists? I, for one, am sick of the amount of 'high end' resorts/villas exuding exclusivity and limiting access to the islands beaches.

Posted by jonty on June 10, 2014 08:52


Did someone mention The Night Mare?

Posted by The Night Mare on June 10, 2014 10:10

Monday June 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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