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Phuket Loses Out By Swapping Russians For Scandinavians, Governor Told

Friday, October 25, 2013
PHUKET: Scandinavian tourists have been exchanged for Russian tourists on Phuket despite the obvious disadvantages, a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall heard yesterday.

''For 30 years, Scandinavians came to Phuket and boosted the local economy,'' tourism industry spokeswoman Jinnipada Chuenskulthitichote said.

''They paid locals for meals, for transport and for gifts to take home and they respected the beauty of the natural environment.

''Now Phuket has swapped the Scandinavians for Russians. The Russians go to Russian-run resorts, eat in Russian-run restaurants and use their own transport.

''You will have to explain to me how the Phuket economy has benefitted from this change.''

Because of their liking for natural environments and their antipathy to Russians, the Scandinavians have now migrated to Krabi, their new preferred holiday destination.

''Many are still coming through Phuket airport but they head for Krabi instead,'' she said.

The issue of ''quality'' tourists and the real number of tourists coming to Phuket produced a lively discussion yesterday, with Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud chairing the gathering.

As for the total numbers, the Deputy President of Phuket's Chamber of Commerce, Jamlern Seatan, made the point that false figures were being quoted about the number of tourists arriving on Phuket.

Figures from Phuket International Airport included arrivals and departures, he said, and they needed to be examined still further to separate the international arrivals from the domestic visitors.

''The figures need to be precise otherwise investors are misled into believing Phuket needs more accommodation when it actually doesn't,'' he said.

''Immigration's figures are very different. We also need an accurate idea of Phuket's carrying capacity.''

Phuketwan estimates Phuket could have three million international tourists this year but wild figures published in other media - where no checks are made - run as high as 11 million.

Comments

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Sometimes people get what they deserve!

Posted by paul on October 25, 2013 13:00

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Well the Ruskies have definitely put us(English couple) off Phuket after coming twice a year for the last 15 years. We will be trying Khao Lak if we come back again.

Posted by Jeff on October 25, 2013 14:35

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Coming from a Scandinavian country and having been involved in a business back home in which I often ran into Russians, I should be negatively predisposed to them, but I'm not.

A large portion of our customers are Russians and they are perhaps at times a bit rough around the edges but very warm, family orientated and hospitable people I take pleasure in interacting with.

Being in the real estate business, these are naturally better off Russians than those on package tours so my experiences may be different from those of others but I always cringe at the thought of painting any nationality with the same brush.

We are all foreigners, almost everywhere.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 25, 2013 14:39

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Phuket is going down whit the russians,all other people from europe run away from Phuket.The only people that dont know that is the Thai gouverment or maybe they they know but some people get money in the pocket and then its ok....

Posted by Anonymous on October 25, 2013 14:53

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Also the vast majority of Scandinavians were fun loving & great company... the Russians are sullen & are not!

I know businesses (not restaurants & bars) that are suffering such as pharmacies & opticians. I have Thai friends in both who tell me the Russians come in demanding unrealistic discounts.

Posted by Logic on October 25, 2013 14:53

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Ask the Scandinavian tour operators why they can't have more landing slots on Phuket airport. The answer is most likely that they can't get any because Thai Airways has taken all available/suitable slots. Now they have to divert to other airports such as Krabi.

Also, if hotels would manage the number if rooms they give to Russian agents a bit better and not be too greedy, the demand from Russia would be better spread over the island and other markets could get a fairer share of the available rooms over high season. Getting the balance right between Russian, European and Chinese guests is key.

Posted by Anonymous on October 25, 2013 17:20

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I have been coming to phuket for 15 years and lived there for a couple of years. There are more Russians there every time i visit and all the ones i have met have been rude and ignorant. Phuket has lost all its appeal to me now. The island has beautiful scenery and i love it but its changed for the worse. I am now going to settle in Krabi or Surat thani.

Posted by sateeb on October 26, 2013 01:37

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ive only been coming back to thailand over the last couple of years after a break of 10 years.
and there is a lot more tourists now in patong then there was back in 2003. the place was busy then but now with the all the extra visitors from russia it is just busier. going to krabi is just natural for people just looking for a quieter place maybe. patong now resembles benidorm in thailand.

Posted by rivke on October 26, 2013 02:50

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The writer of this article has the problem of tourism on Phuket absolutely correct!

Perhaps one of the most truthful articles I've read for years! The Russian tourists are creating a massive excedus of Europeans from Phuket, as they did in Cyprus years ago! The only ones enjoying their company are people in Business benefiting from them and the other people are left picking up the pieces!

Posted by phuket resident on October 26, 2013 12:56

Editor Comment:

The writer is only conveying the thoughts of the people mentioned in the article.

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Benidorm is much better managed than Patong, wm

Posted by wm on October 26, 2013 13:16

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@jeff
nothing better in khao lak,nothing better in kho koh khao,nothing better
in cypros,vietnam,spain,laos,kambodia,.....and so on...this year i book a round trip in myanmar, maybe it will be the same :)

Posted by rudolf on October 26, 2013 16:10

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Its is quiet easy for hotels to ban russians, also for hotels running on groups, make deals with other nationalities give 10 % of the rooms only for the russians and you will get back the guests who ran away for them and who are the guests you want, in Turkey it is a good promotion campaign for many hotels to advertise '100% RUSSIAN FREE" I hope we will not have to go that far in Phuket but we are close to it.So hoteliers act!

Posted by Eric on October 27, 2013 12:48

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Planning is badly needeed, especially, if you/we wqant to see old markets(UK/Germany/Scandinavian) reappear after their economic crisis. Guests from these parts, who has been here already. Go home and tell to family, friends and collegues that its not the same Phuket anymore//And worst part? They themselves will not come back either.

Posted by hmm on October 27, 2013 15:07

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Been coming to Phuket with my family once a year since 1997 i can only agree with the others that Russians and certain French people are a major contributing factor that we now are going to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
Went to Samui last year and we loved it. Great family place and a friendly atmosphere compared to Phuket.

Don't get me wrong; i know a lot of the Russians on Phuket are good people, but the few rude ones are really obnoxious and ruin it for everyone else.

Posted by Erik on November 4, 2013 20:46

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Dear Erik, I know perfectly what you mean by certain French. Those who should not hold French passports, their holidays are paid by the French social welfare and they become local parasites as well as in France.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on November 5, 2013 19:03

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Just been on a Russian ship working which was cool, but speaking to the guys those few that could speak English it seems like Vietnam is being touted as the place to go in all the new articles in magazines

Mind you if it was not for my sons friends I would have moved a couple of years ago

Posted by Michael on November 6, 2013 00:57


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