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The Phuket Provincial Hall meeting hears of a threat to tourism

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Row 'May Hit Scandinavia Market'

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
THE POTENTIAL for the tuk-tuk stand-off on Phuket to damage the island's tourism industry became apparent today with the revelation of other big travel brands involved.

A spokeswoman for Centara Resorts said that Turismo Asia, who act for the large Scandinavian travel group TUI Nordic, has been a target for tuk-tuk action, along with Phuket adventure tour brand Siam Safari.

The spokeswoman, who asked only to be described as ''an agent from the hotel,'' told a meeting at Provincial Hall today that the tuk-tuk dispute posed a threat to Phuket's ''sensitive Scandinavian market.''

She said there was a danger that travellers would find alternative destinations if guests continued to be caught up in the tuk-tuk dispute.

A two-page letter, signed by Centara Group Vice President Treerayut Jiratiwat, was handed to Vice Governor Smit Parawatwichai, who chaired today's meeting.

The letter told of a phone call to Centara Karon Resort Phuket on November 25 from local tuk-tuk co-operative president Pomtep Charmkawn, who said that tuk-tuk drivers would block access to the resort to prevent Turismo Asia picking up and dropping off guests.

Khun Pomtep told a human resources manager that Turismo Asia was ''breaking the law and cheating local taxis, preventing them from obtaining an income.''

Police from Chalong had to be called the day after to the resort because of tuk-tuks blocking the way for tourists to be picked up.

It is believed that the blockades by tuk-tuk drivers have been continuing, with police being called on several occasions.

On Monday this week, the wife of a Vice President of Centara was asked by tuk-tuk drivers to present her voucher when she was picked up by private transport, the meeting heard.

Tuk-tuk drivers have asked Turismo Asia and Siam Safari drivers to present their list of people for pick-up before being allowed through.

The tuk-tuk drivers want guests to take tuk-tuks for at least part of their tour journeys to boost the local economy. Turismo Asia brings about 120,000 tourists to Phuket each year, today's meeting heard.

Another meeting has been scheduled for Friday.

Centara Resorts, part of Thailand's large Central group, have three resorts in the Karon-Kata region of Phuket and a fourth large resort nearing completion on the Karon beach foreshore.
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Comments

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Looks like the burning will start soon again. Anyway, nice someone stands up and tells the real price for Phuket as a holiday destination.

Posted by Lena on December 9, 2009 19:40

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As per my comments in the other news item..

Why ?? Why 'must' anyone use tuk tuks, is this not a free market economy ?? Should tuk tuks not survive based on the price they charge and the service they provide, if the cost is high why can other operators (or lord forbid, buses) not be able to provide an alternative. Then the best service for the customer wins.

The tuk tuks are as much as admitting that no one wants to use them naturally and will only do so when compelled to do so through monopoly and cartel actions. If there's too many of them to make a living now, in the high season, what tactics will they resort to in tougher times. What comes next, no motorbike rentals as it cuts down on taxi useage, a ban on walking ??

Meters.. And enforced useage of them.. So simple.

Posted by LivinLOS on December 9, 2009 19:46

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This is so sad for the real people who try to do business here on Phuket to be held to ransom by a group who offer a third class service.. let's see what authority the police and governor have in Karon

Posted by peter J notley on December 9, 2009 22:13

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The tuk tuks deserve only to be ignored. Travel any way you please

Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2009 01:09

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As a Scandinavian tourist I really likes a lot about the Phuket area, and prefer to live in the Kata/Karon area, but the ripoff prices of the tuk tuks makes me thinking about finding another destination in the future.

400 THB for the short trip from Karon to Patong is nothing more than a disaster for Phuket.

Like mentioned in other comments here at PW you can drive an airconditioned car/minibus from the airport to Karon/Kata for about 6-800 THB, and that's a comfortable and safe ride compared to the tuk tuks. Even in almost all other parts of the world you can enjoy more reasonable priced transport also in countries with a higher price level.

I hope the authorities will do something about the Phuket tuk tuk mafia before it totally destroys Phuket as a destination for many travellers. Tuk tuks in Phuket needs competetion and the organised ripoffs have to stop NOW!

Posted by TD on December 10, 2009 07:02

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In the case that Phuket Governor and Thai Authorities do not break up those rogue local tuktuks, their next steps will be to block all tourism related businesses to pick-up customers all around Phuket such as:
- Regular sightseeing tours companies.
- Tailors offering free pick-ups.
- Dive shops picking up divers from all hotels around the island.
- Tour boat operators.
- Transport companies tranfering tourists to and from hotels.
- And so on....
Without mentioning in extra that tour boats are prohibited to pick-up tourists at Kata-Karon beaches.
Well, Phuket local people should understand that Phuket belong to all Thai people, not a few irresponsible bad mannered local touts.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on December 10, 2009 10:41

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well said Mr whistle blower

Posted by peter J Notley on December 10, 2009 11:42

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Hear Hear what the Whistle - Blower says.
We are tired of hearing about these tuk tuk boys, day in and day out.

Has no-one got any power to stop this tuk tuk rot ?

Posted by Graham on December 10, 2009 12:21

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It would be the best if Phuket could run a baht bus business like in Pattaya(Patong, Karon, Kata, Chalong. Think about it, if you could catch a baht bus from Patong to Kata for 50 baht !

Khun Porntep and the mafia will not allow that.

Posted by Gerd on December 10, 2009 13:42

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Dear Editor, first thanks for editing my rambling post to the two first sentences.

Second: This statement: (Khun Pomtep told a human resources manager that Turismo Asia was ''breaking the law and cheating local taxis, preventing them from obtaining an income.'')

Is it "the law", that only Tuktuk are allowed to bring people to somewhere, when it starts on "their" turf? Is it legally cheating? Or is it just a plain and simple bully statement?

Posted by Lena on December 10, 2009 16:36

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Get rid of them all together! I will not bring my family back to Phuket.

Posted by JOHN on December 10, 2009 23:20

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Why go to Phuket, Samui etc, when there are lplaces like Bang San Beach, where a Songtaw ride is only 10 Baht? But then again, prices will go up if more tourists find out, it's the curse of mass-tourism.

Posted by Jens on December 11, 2009 14:13

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Do what I did - Leave - it's lovely living in Malaysia! :)

Posted by noddy on December 11, 2009 16:27

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I bought a car and two motorbikes for when my friends visit this fair isle. And it is still cheaper than what would have been spent on tuk-tuks

Posted by Andyman on December 15, 2009 15:29

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So??? All finish???
Is it now all OK with the tuk tuks?
No one single words from the Governor in last week to fix the problem??

Editor: It's a local issue at this stage. No need for the Governor. The next meeting has been rescheduled because, so we have been told, senior people at Centara are now involved. This case possibly sets precedents.

Posted by claudio on December 20, 2009 11:16


Friday October 23, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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