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PHUKET 10/10: Phuket Needs Your Help

PHUKET 10/10: Phuket Needs Your Help

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
PHUKET: In the countdown to the visit to Phuket by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Thailand's Cabinet, Phuketwan announces its PHUKET 10/10 campaign.

Over the days leading up to the important summit on March 19-20 at Prince of Songkhla University on Phuket, we will be examining 10 key issues that trouble Phuket - issues that simply have to be resolved.

These will not be the key pieces of infrastructure that Phuket also needs. These will be the 10 issues that cut to the heart of Phuket's problems - issues that must be resolved, and soon.

So far, Thailand's latest Government has shown its willingness to listen to people on Phuket - both inside and outside the tourism industry - who see the need for a range of reforms.

Will the words ''corruption'' and ''greed'' be mentioned over the next two weeks? We hope they are, often.

Phuketwan put its plan for a corruption-free Phuket in its 'Planet Phuket' series. Today we renew that call for a corruption-free Phuket.

Obliterate corruption on Phuket, and Thailand will have a role model for battling corruption throughout the whole nation.

In PHUKET 10/10 we will be concentrating on the practical and philosophical problems that stand between Phuket and enduring success as a tourist destination - and as a great place to live.

It's widely accepted that Phuket has never been given the cash it needs to support an important revenue-generating holiday island with a population that exceeds one million most months of the year.

Phuket is, in many ways, Thailand's most international province. The proportion of overseas workers and visitors is probably higher on Phuket than in any other part of the country.

Phuketwan's PHUKET 10/10 campaign aims to celebrate that difference, and offer bright ideas on how Phuket's future vision can be enhanced.

While the rest of the world has plenty of good suggestions, what has to be remembered is Phuket's essential Thainess. Traditional warm hospitality is what helps to draw tourists by the millions.

Phuket's rapid advance as an appealing tourist destination is what has accellerated some of its problems. Customs that worked well when Phuket was a collection of villages no longer work as Phuket grows rapidly towards becoming one big island-city.

Neighboring Krabi and Phang Nga are part of the future, too. A strategy must emerge quickly to preserve the reasons why the Greater Phuket region has prospered, despite increasing regional and global competition.

Taking the good ideas on offer from the rest of the world while rejecting the bad is one of the important missions that Phuket needs to pursue to ensure its future prosperity.

Preserving Phuket's Thai traditions as well as its natural attributes is an equally important priority.

In PHUKET 10/10, Phuketwan will list 10 segments where Phuket can set new standards, perhaps even becoming a role model for the rest of the country.

With the Asean economic community looming in 2015, all of Thailand will need to adapt quickly to new demands. Phuket can be the pioneer for the kinds of measures, a ''living laboratory'' to develop the economic and social planning that all of Thailand will need to quickly absorb.

At the same time, the chronic cynicism in Phuket's expat community has to end. Only constructive ideas that work for everyone can generate rapid change.

Now's the time.

Look for Phuketwan's PHUKET 10/10 series, beginning shortly. We welcome suggestions from all Phuketwan readers, from today on.

Comments

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Provide security to those of us who wish to buy/lease property in Phuket. Increase the condominium threshhold and the 30 year lease term. Avoid "ripoffs" from unscrupulous developers.

Posted by petr on March 7, 2012 11:26

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Here are my 10 suggestions. All these have been the subject of news reports on PW, and all seem to .. well .. still be unsolved problems.

In no particular order of importance:

1 - Corruption, from the top to the bottom, there seems to be corruption at every turn. Is anyone actually trying to do something about this? 'Not my problem' seems to be the catchphrase.

2 - Public transport (services, routes, fees). That means unlicenced/uninsured black taxis, all taxis/buses driving too fast/dangerously, rip-off taxi and tuk-tuk fees, lack of public bus routes (because the drivers do not want to be beaten up), new bus terminals that are not used because one person doesn't want buses turning near his house. Actually, the list goes on and on (and on and on). Really not sure where one starts to sort out this problem, but point 1 (above) is probably relevant...

3 - Airport congestion, both inside the airport buildings and outside in the car park. There are not enough immigration desks open for arriving flights, and a smile from the staff would be nice.
Quite why the airport car park seems to be designated as primarily for taxis and minibuses is beyond me, (when the second, larger car park remains unused), ==> see point 1.

4 - Litter/rubbish. Whilst some tourists do drop litter, my 10 years in Phuket tells me that time and time again it is Thai people who litter our beaches and roadsides. Is this done purely to provide justification for The big Clean-Up Day??

Impose a 10,000 baht fine on anyone (Thai or foreigner) who intentionally litters.

5 - Muggings, theft etc. We all know that attacks on foreigners have increased significantly over the years, especially in the Rawaii/Nai Harn area. What have the local police done to increase patrols in these areas, and to prosecute offenders?

6 - Billboards. Why is this island covered with illegal, unsightly billboards? These advertise an identifiable company or service. Why are these companies not fined for every illegal signboard that features their business? Maybe point 1 (above) has something to do with it??

7 - Drink driving. It seems to be the norm amongst many foreigners (and Thais) to drive whilst under the influence. What policies are in place to try to reduce these incidents?

8 - Crash helmets. I know that there's a campaign for all motorcyclists to wear crash helmets, but a trip around the island quickly shows that many Thais and foreigners are ignoring this. Impose a heavy fine and confiscate the motorbike until it is paid.

9 - Beach ownership. Who owns the beaches in Phuket? I thought they were public property, or owned by HM the King. So why oh why are our beaches disappearing under illegally-built bars, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels? (I know the answer ==> point 1)

10 - Jet skis. They are on the increase (Naka Island), and apparently with the approval of the governing authority.

If it were not for the corruption and greed of (many) people on this island, Phuket would stand a reasonable chance of improving itself and eliminating or substantially reducing these problems. But as your news reports have shown on many occasions, it always seems to be someone else's responsibility.

Wishing your 10/10 project good luck, because you'll need it!

Posted by Simon Luttrell on March 7, 2012 11:44

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here my wishes:

- stop corruption and take care the police work for the goverment and not for something else.

- public transport and road safety. crack down on speeding, drink and drive, car-motobike checks. we need a public transport system! make the roads safer and less accidents. the traffic getting out of control in phuket.

- stop the outlaw system of doing business in phuket. black taxis, tuk tuk monopoly, tea money for doing ilegal business, police not enforcing the law, tip off jet ski gangs, thieves, drugs. i am 7 years in phuket and it getting worse every year. enforce the law for everybody ! No ilegal businesses on the beach! stop the destroying of the nature.

- put rubbish bins at the beach! and for example Loma Park Patong. Help keep the nature clean, stop ilegal constructions, protect the beaches, the sea water, the nature!

- make laws for building and constructions and billboards, keep phuket beautifull, enforce the law if somebody destroy phuket.

- give the thai workers who work well more salary! for example, seven eleven, hotels, and and. dont give all the money to the greedy riches.

- make the phuket people smile again.

thanks so much

Posted by mike on March 7, 2012 12:55

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I refer to the billions of Baht stolen from foreign investors in Phuket!

What many fail to appreciate is that in Thailand there is fatally flawed but legal money lending arrangement neatly positioned under the jolly roger of 'Redemption' which permits the advantaged to provide cash advances to the disadvantaged in exchange for land title deeds (Chanote's) that are immediately transferred into the lenders name as security. The cash advances made to the borrowers be they bona fide or felonious are of course accompanied by exorbitant compound interest rates that inevitably or by design result in loan defaults and the loss of property for sums reflecting but a fraction of their actual value. Herein lies the hub of the problem. Fraudulently or forcibly obtained land title deeds proffered by unauthorized third parties as security for loans never intended to be repaid.

The solution of course is that that a basic regulation is introduced that every signature on every official Thai document relating to the sale lease or purchase of land, houses, cars, boats etc. must have an English translation and that the foreigners signature and passport are verified, registered and receipted by their Consulate or Embassy. That an anti corruption office be set up in Phuket staffed by multi lingual lawyers and aligned to a secure hotline and website. This service would of course not only be for foreigners but for the many Thais who have also been victims of corruption. Posters should be printed and placed in every police station and immigration office in Thailand as the corruption of course is not just confined to Phuket. The corruption problems I refer to herein concern the numerous cases of property fraud that have occurred not just in Phuket but in Samui, Bangkok, Pattaya and all over Isaan where the ownerships of companies, properties, and cars have through deception been transferred from their legitimate foreign owners to corrupt third parties.

Posted by Nip on March 7, 2012 14:33

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1.Independent task force to remove corruption in the Governments daily operations.
2.Task force to re-design traffic Police duties to actually police the traffic and not just set up road check points. Remove all police involvement in fines making it a crime (loss of job) to take money (pay them more to actually do their job). Have the police bring both parties to court when called to resolve issues involving money and resolving issues of violence from with tourists. Assign police by merit item 1 above.
3.Establish 6 Tourist and traffic courts on Phuket with real judges (not police) who at a minimum speak English and establish a volunteer translator pool. Most should be open 24 hours a day to adjudicate all traffic violations and disputes between locals and tourists. (They can easily pay for themselves through fines) Courts should be allowed to rule on cases when only one party shows up and the other is deemed to have run away.
4.Tourist Rentals: Put signs on all beaches, hotels and travel companies where jet skis, cars and motor bikes are rented instructing tourists of the court system if there is a dispute. Require all rental contracts to be in the language of the renter or in English if it is not a common visitor language to Phuket the renter must indicate they fully understand the contract. Contracts must include all costs of rental and additional rental insurance along with the max cost to the tourist if there is damage. The court must be given the ability to revoke the license to operate and confiscate any rental if the court finds it was involved in a scam against tourists or operating outside the law. All rental groups on Phuket must be registered with the court and post the rules at their rental locations for everyone to see.
5. Build an elevated road system to connect the center of Phuket Heroines Monument area directly to Kathu then branching out to the south and western parts of the island for quick transit.
6.Give Phuket two Transportation systems for tourists. The current one plus Air-conditioned buses on a time schedule that runs along the west coast between the beaches at a cost high enough that a group of four would pay enough to ride in a legitimate Tuk Tuk between beaches. That way the customer could decide to wait for the bus or quickly take a Tuk Tuk.
7.Set up zones and licenses to limit the number of Tuk Tuks on Phuket and slowly reduce the number 5 Percent each year until manageable. Add more metered taxies but limit their ability to park.
8. From the south end of Kata to Karon Circle along the beach road from 5 pm to 10 PM operate free Disney stile trams like Laguna does along this road so your tourist can move quickly and easily every evening to the shopping areas and restaurants along these two beaches this is a win win for all the hotels, restaurants and stores plus it will elevate family tourism and be a positive move for Phukets future.
9.Set up a Bangkok run environmental protection agency (with untouchable personnel rotated from Bangkok) with a phone number posted with the tourist and rental groups throughout Phuket and in the schools. This group should have the power to fine and stop operations anywhere on Phuket when they find their damaging the environment. Make a system that rewards those who report violations with a percentage of the total fine paid. This group should have the power to remove anyone and any property that has been built onto public land especially the beaches. They should be manned to be able to respond quickly.
10.Establish an ocean environmental agency under the Bangkok group to protect the seas around Phuket. They would have the power to designate were motor craft could operate off of every beach on the island and fine violators.

Posted by Mike on March 7, 2012 16:38

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Everyone has opinions about what they see as the problems in Phuket.
Thailand is full of laws that protect the country, nature, the people and tourists but they are rarely enforced.

The corruption from bottom to top (inc Bangkok) has to stop so laws ARE enforced and the rest would follow, We know the following is illegal, black taxis, jet skis, beach encroachment etc, but nothing is done, because the current laws are NOT enforced.

Posted by Tbs on March 7, 2012 19:25


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