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Before the furl: less clutter on Phuket's beaches these days

Phuket High Season About 20 Percent Down on Normal, Say Tourism Officials

Friday, December 5, 2014
PHUKET: The high season on Phuket is likely to be down by 20 percent on last year because of Europe's economy, not the absence of sunbeds from the beaches, experts say.

Bookings at resorts through December average about 70 percent compared to 90 percent last year, says Kritsada Tansakul, of the Patong Hotels Association.

''The economic downturn in Europe is the main reason,'' he said. ''January is also slower than normal with figures at 75 to 80 percent at present.''

He said there were positives and negatives about the clearances of sunbeds and umbrellas from Phuket's beaches but that the issue wasn't significant in terms of bookings.

''It's plain that the private businesses on public space are illegal but enforcement is where the problem lies,'' he said. ''Many of those who are supposed to enforce the rules are reluctant to do so.''

He said the difficulty was that the mayors, the police and other authorities were neighbors in many cases of the beach vendors.

''Tell the tourists to take it easy,'' he said. ''You may bring your own umbrella without fear of having it confiscated. Bring a chair too if you like. If you don't do anything wrong, tourists have the full protection of the law.''

Suchart Hirankskkun, former president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Division) and still a consultant, added that it was going to be an ''average'' high season.

''The big picture is that occupancy on Phuket is down by 20 percent, about the same as all the other holiday destinations within Thailand. We still have vacancies in December, which is unusual.

''Normally Phuket would be fully booked through from mid-December, on through January and February.''

He said the new beach arrangements ''are ok but the vendors are still trying to rent umbrellas to tourists off the beaches. And who cleans the beaches now?''

Thew downturn in tourism was generated by problems in Europe and Russia especially, he said. ''Chinese tourists are still coming, though, in increasing numbers.''

There were so many Chinese now arriving, he said, that there were not enough trained Thai guides to cater for them.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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The Aussie dollar has also hit the skids. With the Thai baht pegged to the US dollar Phuket can seem very expensive, especially in high season when your currency suddenly drops.

Phuket has become too crowded and you have so called 5 star resorts serviced by 1 star infrastructure. Has that road behind Jungceylon ever been finished?

If Chinese tourists are increasing that will be another reason for people not to go there. The Chinese are such a smiling, generous and cheerful bunch after all.

Posted by Arun Muruga on December 5, 2014 12:34

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Yes of course, the evil evil downturn in Europe.

No fault of anyone else.

Everyone here is trying so hard, all for the good of the tourists. And now this. Surprising downfall in europe.

Good to found the cause so quick and it is outside of their own.

Posted by Georg The Viking on December 5, 2014 12:42

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Tourism officials need to be a bit more specific when promulgating information.

I have been told by the managers of 2 restaurants in Kata that their Nov 2014 take was 40% & 50% down respectively on Nov 2013.

What is important to the local economy is not 'bums on seats' arriving, but what they are spending once arrived.

Posted by Logic on December 5, 2014 13:27

Editor Comment:

Restaurant managers? Sure, they're always the first to know. So many variables apply to restaurants that they can only ever be relied upon for their own popularity, Logic.

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Are there enough Thai guides for Koreans and Russians? This is a job that should be open to foreigners in my view. I wonder if Bali's down 20% this year? Most foreigners who do not speak English want a guide who speak their language I do not meet too many Thais who speak Russian or Korean, down 20% maybe this is a factor to less people coming.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on December 5, 2014 13:36

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Personally I think the downturn is caused by the political unrest. The coup has stabilised the country but is not everywhere abroad perceived as positive, but will in the long run have a positive effect.

Posted by stevenl on December 5, 2014 13:51

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Thai are masters in pin pointing that it is others fault, not thai!
Immigration at Phuket airport, taxi rates more than double as in BKK. Parasailing over the legs of people in the beach, Jet skies without respect for simmers, Uniformed people with machine guns in beach. Contradictive thai authorities in what is ok or not ok. Many thai who have to enforce law and order are reluctant to do so. Corruption is wide spread and even more open now. The big picture is: Tourist have enough of Phuket this year! Don't bla bla tourist have no money, read in other thai newspapers, the tourists simply go to more tourist friendly destinations. Simple. 20% down now, next year 50% down if the thai not get their tourist act together.

Posted by Kurt on December 5, 2014 14:05

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I saw today tourist sat on plastic chairs on Patong beach obviously rented as they were many year old, they had also been sold beer, a police man said something laughed and passed by.

Posted by Dobby on December 5, 2014 14:13

Editor Comment:

If it's the policeman who helps the jet-ski scammers, that would be no surprise.

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Yes ofcourse the bath from europ . A lot of tourisme don(t comme because of plan A clean the beaches not from the distbin but the chairs and ambrellas. I have friends who colled me last week from europ if they don't still have a solution for the beach . We don(t like to breng furniture like chairs ambrellas to the beach . You need a extra car to breng them to the beach instead take a motorbike . because you tell sometimes in your newspaper you can breng your own umbrella with and the another day police trow you from the beach with your umbrellas . What a country
Give a good plan B please

Posted by malena on December 5, 2014 14:22

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Well - what a surprise ! Let's have a look next year after all the hedonistic westerners do not find their used to have comfort on the beach anymore. But yeah, the friendly money spending chinese will fill the gap and the thais will soon realise how golden the past time era was.

Posted by fred on December 5, 2014 14:43

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Bali is not suffering the same downturn.... other factors at play ??

Posted by Tys on December 5, 2014 14:51

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Is it the European economy or the present political situation? Maybe a combination of the two!

Posted by coxo on December 5, 2014 14:54

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and the Russian Ruble is down 40% from a year ago

Posted by sky on December 5, 2014 14:57

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Total numbers might be down by only 20% but tourist generated revenue is down by a hell of lot more.

Chinese might be keeping arrival numbers up but they only spend in Thailand a fraction of what Europeans/Aussies/Americans do

Posted by Lashay on December 5, 2014 14:57

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I recently flew from Bangkok to Nakhon Sri. It was 790 baht on Air Asia. A taxi into town via the airport cartel was 300 baht flat rate. A trip of 12-15k.

A friend who hadn't been to Thailand for a while flew to Samui and it cost him 4 times what I paid. He said Samui felt like one rip off after another the whole time he was there.

Phuket is really getting a bad reputation and officials just can't seem to get their act together and sort out the problems with taxis and jet skis.

My mate is not a budget traveller and has visited many countries. He was saying he felt many Thais in places like Samui had some serious character defect when it came to cheating tourists.

Posted by Arun Muruga on December 5, 2014 15:13

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http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2014/12/atta-agents-feel-the-pinch-2/
December 4, 2014 by Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit

ATTA AGENTS FEEL THE PINCH

BANGKOK, 4 December 2014: Association of Thai Travel Agents' member companies handled 2,591,947 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport during January to November representing a decline of 34.87% from 3,979,711 visits during the same period last year.

ATTA released its data, Wednesday, based on fees member agencies pay to the airport to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients........

Posted by Whistle-Blower on December 5, 2014 15:15

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Comparing 2013 to 2014 Bali has had a significant increase of tourists through the first six months of 2014. Checkout the Bali Hotel Association web site.
http://www.balihotelsassociation.com/userfiles/files/arrivaljanjun2014.xls

In 3013 there were 867,254
In 2014 there have been 1,029,770

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 5, 2014 16:39

Editor Comment:

The long-running comparison of the two destinations has been full of ups and downs and twists and turns. A downturn on Phuket doesn't mean you should expect to find a similar downturn on Bali. With the Aussie dollar now in decline, though, and Bali more reliant on Aussies, the situation could be reversed by mid-2015, with Phuket trending up. China is likely to become more important to both islands. The dangers of being destinations dependent on tourists are multiplied if they are dependent on tourists from a single source. Both islands have a good spread of tourists from different continents and would be best advised to maintain the spread.

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There are a few reasons why it is so quiet in tourist locations.The very bad publicity coming from Koh Tao which has been seen all over the world, the baht exchange rate, other holiday destinations at better prices, Europeans being careful with their money, and the lack of infrastructure. Smelling the filthy drains and walking on broken pavements, lack of food hygiene, all these things are more important to the average tourist than beach loungers or who is running the country.

Posted by Elizabeth on December 5, 2014 17:16

Editor Comment:

You've got those points in no special order but prices comparisons which no longer favor Phuket and extortionate fares for taxis and tuk-tuks easily top any serious list. Food hygiene is excellent. I would have more concern about many European kitchens where food is prepared away from the eyes of costumers than street food in Thailand, where standards can be seen and where food poisoning cases are rare.

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Dear, Puketwan.......
This 20% less of tourists has nothing to to with the European economi, next year it will go down 50%, but all the negative things who the Europeans read in the Embassy sites and read in papers, crimes, corruption with the Police, mafia, tuk tuk and jetskis, scimming and bagsnachers, some times with deatly outcome..terrible
Tourists, show Thailand that enough is enough, there are many beautiful places her in Asia.......

Posted by Mr. Rune expat on December 5, 2014 17:33

Editor Comment:

Most people, Mr Rune, are able to put events in context. Do you really want me to go through the Internet and recite to you the ''scary'' stories that might put people off visiting Europe? The vast majority of tourists understand that the dangers in a developing country are greater, but only scaremongers create the impression of problems on every corner. As intelligent tourists know, crimes of violence are more evident in their home towns than on Phuket, especially since the coup. Stop kidding yourself.

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I am not an economist but maybe the time is nigh to float the baht. Not sure on other implications but pegging to the US dollar when it is climbing did nothing for the A$ in the past. If the A$ drops to the 70-80c level expected against the US dollar (from 105c not that long ago) 30THB becomes 20THB and tourists will dive. Some serious planning is needed. Just do not expect everything to come good. The old Australian adage "she'll be right" will not work.

Posted by Davemc60 on December 5, 2014 17:45

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The Thai Baht is not currently pegged against the USD although is has been pegged against it a number of times over the last 100 years.

Posted by Manowar on December 5, 2014 18:09

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This is what Phuket deserves after many years of bs and bad administration..

Posted by dave on December 5, 2014 18:21

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"I am not an economist but maybe the time is nigh to float the baht."
It is obvious you're not an economist since the Baht is floating and has bene doing so for a long time already.

Posted by stevenl on December 5, 2014 19:05

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He said there were (forgot to say: only very few) positives and (forgot to say: very, very much) negatives about the clearances of sunbeds and umbrellas from Phuket's beaches but that the issue wasn't (forgot to say: not the only) significant in terms of bookings.

Posted by Cecil on December 5, 2014 19:07

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I think some people don't come to phuket because there are no sunbeds on the beach...i also think about to cancel my holiday for 4 weeks january -february 2015 in kamala .i sit in a wheelchair and if there are no sunbeds for rent it is not possible to go on the beach....and think about all people up to 50-75 years old they cannot stay at a towel at the Sand.i know a lot of people who are worry about this idea of the military.i think they the military should give license for people who can sell sunbeds and umbrellas.holiday is for the most people tp stay at the beach...not at a Pool and people who stay in an appartement they only habe the beach....sure some people can not come for holiday about the money.....and if more chinese people will come to Thailand people from eeurope not will come.......i want to write to the gouverment etc.to explain the diffucult Situation about no sunbeds for wheelchair people but i don't find an Email adress....i hope the Situation to rent sunbeds un kamala or phuket will change.....and think about all thai people Massage etc...who earn the money dringt high season what should they do .....this will be a big Problem for Thailand because the crime become more high....

Posted by Silvia on December 5, 2014 19:15

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The wealthy trading class in Bangkok make their money in exports not imports, so the higher the baht the better for them.

What annoys the hell out of me is how the banks suddenly started to pay 1 baht less per dollar for cash exchange at airports Thailand wide.

If you send money from offshore they wait until they can give you a lower rate whenever possible. If you want to use a debit card it is 180 baht a transaction. Compare that to 15 baht for a Thai debit card.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia is constantly saying a lower dollar is better. Better for who? Not for online buyers, not for travellers, not for expats, not for importers.

Posted by Arun Muruga on December 5, 2014 19:30

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A problem that many people are missing is how many returning visitors are not coming back to Phuket. As someone who has holidayed around 8 times in Thailand for the last 10 years coming from the UK 6 of them in Phuket the last time being 2 months ago. I had to change hotels on my last visit and using reluctantly a taxi I was charged 300 baht for a 800 meter journey,took him all of 4 minutes. It's this type of theft that puts people off. It's no good Thais or farang saying well what do you expect,this is Thailand. People are far more savvy with their money and it probably would do the Phuket holiday business some good to suffer a huge downturn to come back to reality.

Posted by hilton on December 5, 2014 19:34

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If you don't do anything wrong, tourists have the full protection of the law.'' unto you hire a jet ski!

Posted by slickmelb on December 5, 2014 20:26

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I have been coming to Phuket many times since 2002,sometimes twice a year and sadly I will not be coming again.
I love being on the beach during the day with a good book and a chance to cool off in the sea, also get snacks from vendors there.
unfortunately without a lounger to relax on and a parasol to protect me from the hot sun,the beach will be a no go except for jusy a short time.this is not why i visit Phuket

Posted by doolittle on December 5, 2014 21:08

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As is made clear once again, in this very thread, there are many reasons for the decline. Anyone trying to just blame any 1/2/3 things is really just bitching about whats important to them individually. Rarely is it so simple

In no particular order, all reasons for decline i can think of:

* More and improved regional competition

* Strong Thai baht/weak foreign currencies

* Major local price increases/inflation, especially in main tourist destinations

* Governmental mismanagement of tourist destinations at local level (deck chairs, jet skis, umbrellas, shut downs of entertainment zones, over development, stupid governmental 'orders' being issued, regardless if followed or not, eg: Phuket Governor publicly issuing order to ban alcohol during Songkran 2014 in pretty much all major party locations or the alcohol ban that's not a ban but rather a request backed up by a threat today, allowing cartels to price fix transportation and lock out alternatives so forth)

* Governmental mismanagement and poor communications to international community at national level (same as previous)

* Corruption at all levels, which is major cause of previous two points

* European Economy

* Russian Economy

* European 'green taxes'

* Increased bargain/budget aware tourists

* Military takeover

* Months of violence

* Generating a perception of lack of law and order and security/justice for tourists (ie: Koh Tao)

* Lack of any real plan by government to promote Thailand as tourist destination beyond wanting "quality" (what means different things depending on who you ask) and then focusing most of their advertising budget on China/Russia, two types of tourists never seen anyone describe as 'quality'

Posted by Lashay on December 6, 2014 03:44

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You mention in the above article...'who cleans the beaches now'? For the life of me i can't get my head around why i still keep seeing this mentioned in articles. Is it really such a hard thing for the local councils to organise when we have all these beach vendors crying out they have no jobs and no money? Beach cleaning should have been organised and in place years ago... it's not rocket science!! At day break each morning a crew of locals spread out and walk the length of the beach collecting all rubbish.... job done!!!

Posted by DG on December 6, 2014 04:50

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Lashay,

there is a missed one major focal point:

the quality of the environment, services = the tourism product itself now is the one that is able to attract al loyal customers only low-price (=price-sensitive) segment

Posted by Sue on December 6, 2014 06:04

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have a good thai friend who sells freshly cooked fast food around the streets of patong and can see and hear the stories of whats going down on the street level there...alot of chinese and russians on pre booked ( meaning everything is paid for in country of origin),holidays, just walking round sight seeing taking pics....as result a lot of the little travel/tour desks/shops have gone under....owners of budget apartments stressed because of very low occupancy.....alot of the ppl who used to work the beach have had to go back home , or are extremely stressed......also the knock on effect to restaurants in the karon beach area that used to supply western food to umbrella vendors upon order has been signiicant..... another example......2 brothers and a wife sharing the same apartment,all employed by the same thai boss,so, 3 incomes to one house, all jobs gone just like that....lucky the boss is very supportive and paid rent for them until they could sort other lower paying jobs out...so now 1 brother had to move into phuket town with his sister...the other brother is left with his wife in the apartment having to come up with the rent on lower paid jobs....so...3 incomes vanished over night....went thru a period where there was no money....now only 2 lower incomes....and....they are all sponsored by the thai boss with stamped passports/permits etc.....i feel for these guys.......heres another angle....the tourists who comeback year after year because of the service and warmth these guys offer will no longer be there....

Posted by surf starved katoey on December 6, 2014 06:47

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Ed are you happy now. All the dirty beach are of thai people. If phuket want quality tourist before clean the beach, black water go in the sea, all restaurant and hotel near the beach put black water in the sea and you belive the problem is sunbed and umbrella.for bring our umbrella and chair we must rent a car and when thousands of tourist rent a car whats happen with traffic. Maybe from patong to surin 3 hours for go and 3 hours to back. Please Phuket is dead.

Posted by michele on December 6, 2014 07:57

Editor Comment:

What an odd comment, Michele. We report the news. We have no control over what happens. A downturn does not make us happy but a downturn has nothing to do with sunbeds.

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''The economic downturn in Europe is the main reason,''

Lies..
European tourists were gone when Thailand welcomed Russian(+chinese) mass tourism. Now Russian economy is totally messed up and Russians don't have money to come.

Posted by JI on December 6, 2014 08:47

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to the Patong Hotel Association Mr. Kritsada Tansakul maybe try to find the problem in you'r on Country the Economy in Europe is fine the people have enough money to make Holiday! but the Europe people won't to enjoy the Holiday on the Beach!!! but right now can't enjoy no sunbed no umbrella no thai vendors with cold drinks no eat only viatnam and cambodia vendors selling small umbrella's for 600 to 800 Bath absolute cheeky and last week all the officer arrest the local vendors it is very bad to make a Holiday in Phuket right now !!! please don't shove you'r lokal governance problem with no solution to other country's !!!!! don't be annoying or you slow down to 50% with the Tourist

Posted by Andrea Sithidej-Meier on December 6, 2014 08:58

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Silvia and Michelle, just change the beach, bang tao and others still have sunbeds

Posted by Eric on December 6, 2014 11:12

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Great, thanks to the General, keep up the good work and get Phuket back to the natural beauty it once was.

Posted by Harald on December 6, 2014 12:17

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Is it an assumption? Any data, any survey? What type of hotels 2/3/4/5 stars and where on the Island? I read that the number of European tourist remained stable. Why and where are they going? Is Phuket is becoming too expensive, too crowded, catering to mass market !! People with buying power are moving to Kao Lak Lak to enjoy a peaceful and quiet environment.

Posted by James on December 6, 2014 13:13

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It's not the economy!

Our resort (40 accommodations) is usually fully booked this month, by retired married couples from scandinavia, germany and switzerland. Some of them come since almost 15 years.

Now we are only booked 60 %. Those who didn't knew yet about the changes and visited us, said they won't come back to Thailand. No beach restaurants, no sunbeds, non umbrellas.

Well done Thailand! Let's go back to 70ties. Next year there only will be hookers & suitors.

Posted by alibaba on December 6, 2014 13:49

Editor Comment:

I guess people who only catered to the sunbed tourists will certainly have to wait for a change.

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Europe is in the doldrums, Russia's currency is quickly becoming worthless, and Chinese wear face-kinis. They hate the sun, beaches will be rather empty it seems ....

Posted by geoff on December 6, 2014 14:05

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Ed you are in denial. You are so invested in your stace that loungers and umbrellas should not be allowed, that you will not see the problem until the financial impact hits Thailand big time. It's happening as we speak and those of us who spend our days at the beach see it everyday. Other countries like Bali have increased tourists numbers and Thailand and Phuket are tanking. You just don't get it.??

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 6, 2014 15:23

Editor Comment:

Bali and Phuket are different islands in different countries with different markets. Has Bali covered its beaches with sunbeds? I get it, Jim, and I have no control over the mistakes that have been made on Phuket by allowing private use of public space for so long. Your wallet is doing the taliing.

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My wife and I are coming from Finland to Karon 21 December.
We are going to some other beaches if there is no sunbeds like Michele wrote earlier.
Next year we choose some other place for our vacation.

Posted by 8 time visitor Karon and Patong on December 6, 2014 16:54

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ed, why are you cynical? We are only a small Thai family business. Families with children love us and the beach with all conveniences like it was before. We don't belong to a big external company like Laguna, Chedi or Movenpick with pool landscapes etc., sorry.

Posted by alibaba on December 6, 2014 18:15

Editor Comment:

I am not cynical. I am law-abiding. The beaches look great.

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@Silvia

and if more chinese people will come to Thailand people from eeurope not will come.......i want to write to the gouverment etc.
===

it's seems that you are as stupid as old you are, and your physical imperfection does not come with compensation of brighter brain

Posted by Sue on December 6, 2014 19:19

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Bali is a different island in a different country BUT they compete head to head with Phuket and right now they are benefiting for sure. Many people stopped going to Bali after the bombings, Phuket benefited from this....but as time has passed, and the recent changes to Phuket have become common knowledge in Australia.....many including us have gone back to Bali. Personally I don't care about the sunbeds, never hired one, but clearly many do. I do however miss the beach clubs and restaurants. I can find them though.....in Bali. Unfortunately when Phuket comes up in conversation right now I share my experiences from earlier this year....I hope n 5 yrs all of this is behind Phuket....but it could be a tough 5 yrs...particularly if people keep denying the problem and blame currency, EU economy etc etc.....Bali tourism is booming FYI!

Posted by Brad on December 6, 2014 20:30

Editor Comment:

Bali has had a spate of murders, bashings and drug busts that are far more damaging than anything on Phuket. Bali is doing OK, not booming, because the effects of the lower $A have yet to be felt. They will be. It's pointless comparing the two.

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Ed, you say Bali is doing ok because the affects of a lower A$ have yet to be felt. Why would Thailand be down 20-40% and Bali is doing much better than 3013? What's your logic?

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 7, 2014 15:53

Editor Comment:

Indonesia hasn't had street protests followed by a coup. The taxi fares are still extortionate when visitors hoped for change. Prices generally are at least 20 percent higher than they should be because of corruption. Add perhaps another 20 percent for greed. Phuket is simply at the end of a boom period and must make essential changes if it expects good times to roll on. Only rarely (bomb, tsunami) is Bali influenced by what happens in Phuket or vice versa.

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The premise of the article is that Thailand numbers are down because of the poor economic conditions elsewhere. Bali should also be down if your premise is correct.??

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 7, 2014 17:23

Editor Comment:

Only if Bali was as reliant on Europeans and Russians as Phuket is. It's not.

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Come on Ed, post my response. Twice you have not. The first time calling it spam. Where is the spam? I am just asking you to explain your logic.

The premise of the article is that Thailand numbers are down because of the poor economic conditions elsewhere. Bali should also be down if your premise is correct.????

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 7, 2014 19:59

Editor Comment:

I work seven days a week starting at 5am, Jim. If for some reason your comment is not loaded instantly, it's because I am performing some kind of necessary bodily function. The rest of the time I am at your beck and call.
Spam is what our technical guru tags your comment when you take too long to write it instead of writing it elsewhere and cutting and pasting it into the comment box.

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Hahaha! I do cut and paste from Evernotes. And you and I are not spring chickens so I understand bodily functions. Sleep well.??

Posted by Jim in Patong on December 7, 2014 22:04

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I've lost count over past months... Phuket expected tourist numbers for the upcoming high season... Phuket tourist numbers won't be affected this high season... Phuket tourist numbers fall this high season..... +/- and so it goes on... Having lived here for many years now and from what i'm seeing, the numbers are definitely down.

Posted by DG on December 8, 2014 06:08

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a Thai friend w/longtime bar on Koh Samui is selling her bar, says numbers down more than 70% this year; Phuket friends report downturns over 50%; here on Koh Lanta numbers are way down, 30-60% in all types of businesses- and it has just been reported that arrivals at Bkk are down almost 40% this year over last- it is NOT just economic, it is NOT just relentless scams & cheating, it is NOT just about sunbeds & umbrellas, and it is NOT just about the coup & martial law- - - but is IS about a combination of ALL these things... i talk to tourists, expats AND Thai businesspeople every day - something is seriously wrong, and it is NOT just economic...

Posted by jenifer divine on December 8, 2014 09:24

Editor Comment:

Thailand has certainly become Taintland.

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The restored natural beauty of Phuket shifts money to vendors off the beach, these vendors are happier now, as well as a majority of tourists and residents. A senior Thai resident told me she was so happy to see the beach as it was in her childhood. Old egoist tourists who want sunbeds can find them in many places of the world , they should not come to Phuket if bringing small pliable chairs and umbrellas from outside the beach and bringing them back is too much of an effort for them. Let Phuket become more of a family destination.

Posted by Thierry on December 8, 2014 12:18

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As much as I love the look of the beaches now, it is a simple fact that a big number of tourists need umbrellas and chairs and taking them by selves is not very convenient. I also love empty streets or a countryside without apartment blocks....but this is civilization. Phuket's main business is tourists and the main reason for them to come to this island are the beaches. As hard as and seemingly impossible that it seems I do believe we need a structured and controlled amount of chairs and umbrellas. The issue is however how can this control be enforced, can finally the government step up on this?

Posted by Anonymous on December 11, 2014 08:25

Editor Comment:

The law says No.

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The European economy sure is funny. The CTO (Carribean Tourism Organization) has been reporting improved visitor numbers for the past year, and a large part of it is due to Europeans.

Posted by Ryan on December 14, 2014 15:27

Editor Comment:

A drop of 14 percent in Bali in November. So many factors come into play it's not possible to strike direct comparisons.

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To Mr. Kritsada of PHA I would like to say: Sir, 1: your percentages are incorrect. 2: Phuket's downfall is not to blame on Economic downturn of Europe. The same numbers of Europeans are traveling, but with all the 'only talking' Phuket officials, denial talks, empty talks, even lying, speedboats slashing tourist in beach water, serious bus accidents due to unlicensed/unskilled and sometime 'under influence' drivers. Corrupt officials, no normal priced taxis, no island wide public bus service. THAT are the reasons tourists are having enough of Phuket. Oh, do not forget the men in uniforms with machine guns in the beach, confiscating personal umbrellas! What is Phuket thinking? Today 'yes', tomorrow 'no'. 3: Yes, Chinese tourists are coming, because their agents get them cheap Phuket packages, ( less money for you) You have to fill up your rooms and try to stop the 'down fall', have to accept lesser profits., is itn't? 4: Not enough Chinese speaking tour guides, who's fault is that?? Why by now are there not enough thai tour guides speaking Chinese? Where is the Chinese language school? Where are the thai students for that? What are the tourist authority doing regarding that? Why not make the illegal chines tour guides legal? Like Phuket has farang- and philippino teachers in schools. If the thai society can not serve the demand than get the guides from elsewhere. So, stop crying, become proactive! 5: Oh, beach cleaning, yes, many thai can be employed by the Obor Tors for that. They have (hidden) money enough. This season no clean beaches? Than next year even lesser tourist. Start to work! NOW! Stop having meetings with enormous amount of officials concerning easy to handle matters. Stop talks, start work!

Posted by Kurt on December 16, 2014 19:49

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@ Kurt- I would be fascinated to see on which beach you saw men in uniform with machine guns? You are painting a view that is simply not true. Some soldiers were carrying automatic rifles, but not a machine gun in sight.

It is scaremongering like this that puts people off travelling- most people actually here welcomed the arrival of the Army and their cleanup attempts.

Since they returned to Nakkon Si Thamarat things have rapidly been slipping back into the old ways on Phuket. The military presence in Phuket now is NOT the Army but the Navy (other than 5 'mis-understood' soldiers last week!).

Posted by Mister Ree on December 24, 2014 18:55

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OK......well, I would think perhaps some of the high-season lodging rates would had come down then?? I would be there now if not for the jacked-up seasonal rates. As it is, I must wait until April to get the reasonable lodging rates. I would much rather be there now. Yes, it is a personal problem that I cannot afford the high-season rates. I am just saying/asking. Normal supply & demand rules seem to take a 'holiday' in beautiful Thailand at times. In any case, I look forwatd to coming in April!!

Posted by Nobama on January 4, 2015 10:46

Editor Comment:

High season means high demand, Nobama. Supply and demand still applies, as it does all year.

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I was in Dec. 4 weeks in Patong Beach, and at least 80 % of the people I spoke, told me that under this conditions they will not come back. In Germany we have at the moment the best situation on the job market for the last 10 years. Thailand should find the reason for the break down by themself, which can not be to difficult!!!

Posted by Reiner on January 8, 2015 23:59

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I am coming to Phuket next week from UK and after reading about the beach sunbed/umbrella situation this will be the last time I visit Thailand
We have plenty of money to spend on vacations in UK and why would i go several thousand miles to Thailand for relaxation if I have to lie on a beach in 90 degree heat without protection(I have white skin that burns)
never again
Michael London UK

Posted by michael freedman on January 31, 2015 19:15

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Wait till next year when Ivan really is broke. Many of the Russians here now booked and paid before their money dissolved. So they come on holiday anyway and live on chicken-rice and Chang. Next year they have to book the flight package with dissolved rubles .... their numbers will be down maak maak next year I think

Posted by geoff on February 1, 2015 10:35

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Geoff, Russian market made about 5% of total arrivals.
Now it will probably drop to 1-2%, may be even less, with high-end and medium+ segments least affected.
It probably will not bring any sizeable price drop for hotel rooms.
Arrivals from PRC for sure will dominate any growth in the middle run and eventually will compensate volatility of other markets.

Posted by Sue on February 1, 2015 13:32

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I come.Welcome for me?

Posted by FARANGSET on April 13, 2015 02:49

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When the Aussie dollar is down to 24 or 25 Phuket is way to expensive and taxis and tuk tuks charge more than Aussie taxis I have been coming to Phuket since 2001 but now holiday in the phillipines were it is a lot cheaper and getting 33 pesos to 1 Aussie dollar the hotels in the phillipines charge the same rate all year round none of this high season where accomadation doubles in Phuket

Posted by Chris l on October 28, 2015 14:33

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Chris I

Phuket taxi point-to-point tarriffs when recalculated is appr. 1EUR/km, that is on par with touristic places in Central Europe like Prague, or cheap places like Ibiza.
Taxis in London, Geneva and Amsterdam are way more expensive.

What you say that Phuket taxi is more expensive then in Australia, is not true, taxi there is 1.5-2 times more expensive, here is tariff plan from Sydney:

"Taxi Rates

Sydney Taxi Rates

New South Wales
Peak Rates (06:00 - 21:59)
Flag Fall Distance Rate Booking Fee Waiting Time

$3.60 $2.19/km $2.50 $56.68/hour

Off Peak Rates (22:00 - 05:59)
Flag Fall Distance Rate Booking Fee Waiting Time
$6.10 $2.62/km $2.50 $56.68/hour"

Posted by Sue on October 28, 2015 18:58


Friday October 23, 2020
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