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Phuket's beaches need saving from privatisation and greed

Phuket's Beaches Need Saving, PM Hears

Saturday, March 24, 2012
News Analysis

PHUKET: While on Phuket this week, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met key Phuket tourism leaders to discuss rip-offs, jet-skis and the state of Phuket's beaches, Phuketwan can reveal.

PM Yingluck now has a list of all Phuket's beaches and the problems that are gradually destroying them, with unwanted privatisation evident on most of those beaches.

Senator Tunyaratt Achariyachai, Chair of the Senate Senate Standing Committee on Tourism, said that she talked directly to the PM.

She also presented the PM with her own photographs of key Phuket beaches, supporting her contention that some of them are today ''no better than slums'' because of uncontrolled commercial activities.

The senator led a group of about 12 Phuket tourism industry and business leaders who met with PM Yingluck before Tuesday's historic Cabinet meeting on Phuket.

Phuket's beaches, jet-skis and tourist rip-offs were the main focus of the discussion, Senator Tunyaratt said.

Phuketwan understands that PM Yingluck was so keen to follow up on the key topics of that conversation that she called a meeting after Cabinet met on Tuesday with the Minister for Tourism and Sport and the Minister for Culture.

PM Yingluck's visit may yet become a defining moment in the future of tourism on Phuket because she is now aware of the island's key issues.

One small but powerful tourism lobby group on Phuket wants Phuket's problems to be kept out of news reports. They do not see the need for change, only for secrecy and suppression.

Somehow they imagine that in the 21st century, with scores of tourists around the world instantly posting honest comments about the good and the bad of their holidays on the Internet, the negatives on Phuket will be overlooked.

Senator Tunyaratt is among those who see Phuket's problems clearly and, rather than have them hidden, would prefer that the problems be fixed - for the good of Phuket and Thailand.

Our view is well-known. We want Phuket's problems fixed, not hidden.

Phuketwan was verbally abused last week by a senior office-bearer at a Phuket tourism organisation. This person suggested we close down and leave Phuket.

We have no intention of responding to that kind of bullying and thuggery, and we intend to continue to report in a fair and balanced way about Phuket - both the good, and the bad.

We also fully support Senator Tunyaratt and the realists in tourism who can see that unless Phuket changes for the better, it will eventually be destroyed.

This does not mean that Phuketwan is suggesting that tourists go elsewhere for their holidays - quite the opposite. Phuket remains a great place to unwind and enjoy a break.

But the warning signs are there.

Unless the gradual destruction of Phuket's beaches is halted, the future will be grim. If the beauty of Phuket is destroyed by a greedy few, the next generation of Thais will not be able to enjoy the benefits of tourism.

For this reason, Phuketwan advocates an end to beach corruption with the creation of a new, single beach authority for Phuket.

Instead of going into the pockets of a greedy few, the income from properly regulated commercial activities on Phuket's beaches can go towards maintaining and protecting them.

They are, after all, Phuket's most valuable public assets. A wise prime minister will make sure they are saved for future generations to enjoy.

with additional reporting by Nuansiri Chirunkamolwut

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Any fool can cover up and just watch the gradual decline of Phuket as a tourist destination.
As a visitor I am shocked that any so called tourism lobby group that does not want to be open and accountable is more likely a participant in criminal activity or a front for those criminals who would rather destroy the golden goose than develope a long term, viable tourist industry based on Phuket's undeniable natural beauty.

Posted by Arthur on March 24, 2012 11:04

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Excellent article, but will it help to create a new, single beach authority for Phuket if this institution is controlled by local authorities?

Posted by Sherlock on March 24, 2012 11:20

Editor Comment:

No point if it isn't independent of local authorities. As we've suggested in the past, the best group to enforce the laws and regulations would be the Royal Thai Navy.

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Just read recent visitor reviews - most are extremely negative regarding Phuket - even described as "Paradise Lost" !

Posted by Anonymous on March 24, 2012 12:48

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good article ed... as in the past all talk and no action. the real news article will be when you publish changes that happen and are followed thru.

Posted by john s on March 24, 2012 13:38

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At least now you know, how this office bearer is thinking. That is not a bad thing.

Good, that journalists do not have to pretend they are ignorant fools. Normally TAT should sponsor you and your work as in the long run, that will/would help Phuket and the TAT. But short sighted profit seeking instead of thinking about the future of their kids is deeply rooted.

Posted by Lena on March 24, 2012 14:09

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good job phuketwan! keep chasing the ball!

Posted by mike on March 24, 2012 18:15

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A lot of times the only safeguard people who bring problems to daylight have is publicity.

If "too many" people know about about the opposing "forces", they are likely to be deterred from seeking extra-judicial action.

Sadly for one brave Phuket journalist this was not the case. I hope PW doesn't succumb to such intimidation but being a victim of such violence myself with no recourse for justice, I know there is a limit to how much risk one is willing to take.

As annoying as Ed may at times be, at least he has the b**ls to report what he sees.

Something that's seriously lacking in other English language Phuket media.

PW has and continues to make a difference while others "toe the line".

Posted by Steve C. on March 24, 2012 18:55

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Good for you, Phuketwan, for standing up to these bullies. The suggestion about using the Navy is a very good one, I feel, I'm not sure if it could actually happen though.

Posted by fw on March 24, 2012 22:16

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If PW is being attacked, it means you are doing your business the right way. I say we should all back openness and root out out the rotten, senior office-bearers. Many cheers for PW, leaders in all fields of reporting.

Posted by Dun on March 25, 2012 08:53

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They close the Lagoon at naiharn to the sea. So now the children have to play in a green stinky slum. Thank you for sun chair owner to make more business with 50 or 80 sun chairs, then keep our children healthy. it is a shame but i understand with children not can make money special thanks to the Or Bor Jor Rawai to allow this project.

Posted by Phuket thai on April 2, 2012 13:11

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Phuket Thai,
I have seen two Thai children drown at the beach who had been playing at the lagoon during high season with the lack of lifeguards at the moment probably better its closed.

Posted by Michael on April 3, 2012 05:09


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