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Follow Me  . . . but where? Phuket wonders, and wallows a little

Phuket Visa Runs, Spas Down, Discounts Up

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Seen a great discount bargain? If so please tell us

GREAT discounts are appearing for Thais and expat residents as the low, low season bites on Phuket.

So intense are the economic pressures that rival visa-run companies are even working together to fill minivans and save on outlays.

With tourist numbers nosediving and some expat residents heading for home, keeping the cash flowing has become the island's main game.

Just $US20 will get you an excellent room any night at some well-known resorts. For a few dollars more, you can have a suite.

And restaurants?

Well, Puccini's, the Italian restaurant at the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, where the VIPs will be conferencing next month, is offering 50 percent discounts for residents and expats who work on the island for lunch and dinner.

Others are bound to follow. And spas?

Many small spas have closed, with the number of jobs slashed by up to 40 percent and income cut in half to 500 million baht this year.

Longer-stay visitors are not coming in vast quantities. Compared to last year, one visa-run spokesperson said, numbers are down by 30 percent.

The Visa Siam Company usually does seven runs a week from Phuket to Ranong for 1500 baht a person. But numbers are down so dramatically so now they are combining with other visa run companies.

Bangkok Legal Services used to fill their nine-seat van six days a week. Now there is half that number, and some days no runs are being made at all.

Long-stay tourists, their bread and butter passengers, are no longer so plentiful. Most customers nowadays are English, German or Japanese.

Eve Visa Run at Rawai reported that they might only do visa runs now two days a week when previously it was a daily necessity.

The president of the Phuket Spa Association, Wichien Juthamongkol, said that the lack of visitors from Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan at this time of the year had made staying open more dificult for spas.

Incomes had fallen by 50 percent, many were not replacing staff who quit and it was likely that there may have been an oversupply of spas on Phuket to begin with, he said.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I'm not surprised the visa runs are down, the government changed the law so that you only get 15 days as opposed to 30, who the hell would want to make that journey every two weeks.
Talk about shoot yourself in the foot

Posted by Nick on June 19, 2009 02:34

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You have to wonder why anyone would want to stay here. For those doing an honest days work with a valid work permit or those married still have to mess around. The truth is the Thai government doesn't want us here they simply want our money. Think how wealthy this country could be if you a foreigner could get a visa to live here and own a Rai of land for a house. There are many simple solutions.

Posted by Noddy on June 29, 2009 18:59


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