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Phuket's China Tourism Booming With 'Huge Numbers' Coming

Thursday, May 31, 2012
PHUKET: ''Huge numbers'' of Chinese are expected on Phuket with arrivals this year already surpassing last year's record number, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Six daily flights from China have deposited 400,000 Chinese visitors on Phuket so far in 2012, topping the 343,125 who came in 2011, TAT Assistant Director Wanaphapar Suksombul told a Phuket meeting yesterday.

But fierce competition meant that safety standards were being undermined and Chinese tour companies often ripped off their own customers, the meeting heard at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

Khun Wanaphapar emphasised the positive of the boom in travel from China to Phuket, making the point that the 400,000 visitors this year was a dramatic increase on the 80,000 who came four years ago.

''Huge numbers are coming now,'' she said. ''From Asia China is number one, foll.owed by Malaysia and Korea.''

The traditional independent traveller markets of Europe, Scandinavia and Australia are making way, but at a cost to safety and security.

Chinese tour operators were known to sell packages to travellers then cut or change the items in tours in the package to take a bigger profit for themselves.

The President of the Phuket Professional Guides Association, Panomphol ''Pete'' Thummachartniyom, said that Phuket's guides spoke excellent Chinese because family members came from there to Phuket.

But the Chinese tour companies brought their own guides, he said.

''The Chinese tour companies bring Chinese guides and it's the Chinese tour companies who make trouble for Chinese tourists,'' he said. ''But because these problesm occur on Phuket, it's Phuket's reputation that suffers.''

He told Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada at Provincial Hall in Phuket City the tour business from China to Phuket was becoming increasingly competitive.

''These firms are using old buses because they are cheap,'' he said. ''This is very dangerous. And when a crash happens, the guides will flee the scene because they are illegal.''

Whether the increasing number of Chinese tourists boosts Phuket's tourism future or undermines Phuket's revenue base is a topic of debate among Phuket resort managers.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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What can I say, if the buses are old and dangerous, why are they on the road, aren't they supposed to be safety checked by the Dept of Transport, something is very wrong. Shouldn't be too hard for immigration to check guides at the airport, or spot checks at the hotels, just a little bit of effort is required.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 31, 2012 19:53

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''These firms are using old buses because they are cheap,'' he said. ''This is very dangerous. And when a crash happens, the guides will flee the scene because they are illegal.''
So, how locks that different, to the usual Thai-tour-operator-business?
Who is offering the old buses, please?
And, most important: Why are they on the road, in first place? No offer, no chance, to take!
@Laurie Your last thing would cut a lot of money away from some well open pockets

Posted by ??? on May 31, 2012 20:49

Editor Comment:

As we reported at some length in an article last year about a bus crash on Patong hill, the Thai guide took control of the situation and used a loudspeaker on the firetruck to broadcast instructions. She was a hero. You should look it up, ???, then your warped perspective might regain some shape. Generallisations are foolish.

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So the Tuk Tuks are not the only ones who rip them of !
Anyway, these Chinese tourists do not spend any money, as their tour include everything and they do not have more money, it is Chinese middle and lowe mioddle class, they have to save a long time to buy the tour, so actually are they just filling up on Phuket, they do not add anything to the economic at all !!!
But arrivals numbers are more important then the quality ofd the arriving customers !
In 1990 was it impossiple to get a hotel in Patong under 1000 Baht, now most cost under 1000 Baht !!!!!! 4 star for 900 Baht is easy to find !

Posted by Karsten on May 31, 2012 20:55

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@ Ed.. IMO calling someone a hero just for helping people in need , who are in her care really is just doing a bit extra and being good hearted and should be commended, good for her..but ''hero'' ?no..that is demeaning to all real heroes..

Posted by davidj949 on May 31, 2012 22:08

Editor Comment:

Perhaps. The word is certainly used more loosely than it was once. But she certainly proved that day to deserve praise by her behavior.


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