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Phuket Must Listen to International Voices

Phuket Must Listen to International Voices

Monday, November 24, 2014
PHUKET: Thailand's main holiday island has moved from being a Thai international destination to an international Thai destination - and it really is time that Phuket authorities adapted to that change, one of Phuket's leading honorary consuls said today.

Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong was meeting on Monday morning with mayors, district chiefs and the key island officials, but as usual there was no representative of that most important group, the tourists.

If Phuket is to learn the lessons of the Asian Beach Games and apply successfully to hold the World Beach Games in 2017, then local authorities must become less xenophobic and embrace all the benefits that being Thailand's most international province can bring.

Having one or two of the island's honorary consuls attend the governor's monthly meetings would be a step in the right direction, one of the island's honorary consuls said today.

''The Phuket honorary consuls are a mixture of Thais and foreigners, and it would be good to have tourists represented,'' the envoy, who prefers to remain anonymous, added.

''The other problem appears to be the local Thai media, which doesn't seem to show any serious interest in the perspective of tourists.''

There is no doubt that an Us and Them attitude persists in the minds of many when most of Phuket's problems can be addressed if the Us and Them changes to We.

''If I managed a resort and I wanted to evaluate the success of my resort, I wouldn't just ask the staff,'' the envoy said. ''I would ask the guests as well.

''It seems to me that it's time Phuket took on board the experiences of the hundreds of thousands of international visitors to create the Phuket model for the rest of Thailand also becoming more international and outward-looking.''

Expat residents of Phuket know just how little energy goes into the local media educating its readers about the tourism industry on which the island's economic future increasingly depends.

''The Thais and the tourists on Phuket lead parallel lives and so there are often misunderstandings and a lack of appreciation of different points of view,'' the envoy said.

After the Asian Beach Games, the biggest criticism of Phuket - from Thai officials from around the country and from international visitors - came for the outrageous taxi and tuk-tuk fares.

As with the jet-skis and the beach umbrellas and sunbeds, decisions about tuk-tuks and taxis have been made over the years to support local jobs and bolster those businesses.

Little thought has been given to the long-term viability of tourism, or to comparisons with other destinations.

Phuket has yet to prove that the island's administrators can solve the key problems of tourism and make Phuket's future more assured.

Listening to international voices at least once a month could be a good start and help Phuket to make a more promising World Beach Games bid.

Comments

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I believe the majority of the problems which you associate to tourists not being present is true. Most Thai's don't even have a passport and have never left the country so are not exactly clued up to make the decisions Phuket needs.

The more they cater to China markets, the less money will actually filter into Phuket itself.

The West needs a voice.

Posted by Tbs on November 24, 2014 12:21

Editor Comment:

All tourists need a voice. This isn't aimed at any particular group. All the nations whose people visit Phuket deserve a say.

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As I have stated before, I have been back in UK a lot this past 6 months. I have gone into several travel agencies from up market to bucket shops. They are hardly selling Thailand at all this year & if I asked for information, they know little or have none. Poor marketing is a very bad start.

Posted by Logic on November 24, 2014 12:52

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The most important thing for tourists are the beaches . Go down to Nia Harn and look at the mess .Go to Surin and look at the broken path ways, it goes on and on . Sadly the locals have no idea how to look after the prime asset.

Posted by Tony Kenny on November 24, 2014 13:58


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