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Phuket people waving the flag: the mood for change has arrived

Are You Brave Enough to Change?

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Editorial Comment

PHUKET: Astute readers will have noticed a change in the Phuketwan masthead on the front page. The alteration signifies a change in mood, too.

More than five years ago, Phuketwan began life with the motto ''Sweet Phuket, Every Day.'' Our aim was to bring readers a complete and truthful portrait of Phuket.

Our belief has always been to also offer a vision of where Phuket should be heading, a way through the problems besetting the popular holiday island.

At the same time, we acknowledge that Phuket has been and remains an appealing destination. There's nowhere else on earth we'd rather be.

Yet the past few weeks have marked a noticeable change. It's as if the points we've been making over the past five years have been absorbed.

It's as though the makeover that Phuket needs has finally begun. A couple of weeks ago, China's ambassador told Phuket officials what needed to change.

Today the Minister for Tourism listed his selection of Phuket's 13 problems. Tomorrow it's the turn of the European ambassadors, who will be meeting on Phuket for the first time.

In two weeks, the ambassadors will take what they have learned about Phuket and relay their opinions to the Minister of Tourism, and to Thailand's top police officers.

Despite the thoughtless cynicism of Phuket's gloomy expat grumps, we've always remained optimistic. Now, Phuketwan is more upbeat than ever.

The mood has changed. The change is coming. Phuket does have a growing number of people who care for its future.

It's in recognition of the change that we've helped to bring that Phuketwan from today takes on its bold new motto.

These are not our words but the words of Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada.

At a meeting about tuk-tuks and taxis earlier this month, he looked at the Mayor of Karon and said: ''Are you brave enough to try to fix this problem here? Are you brave enough to change?''

We thought it was an inspirational moment. We think the vice governor, Phuket born and bred, put in a few words what a lot more people on Phuket are now thinking.

Khun Jamleran, his fellow Phuket Vice Governors and the Director of Phuket's Kathu district, Veera Kerdsirimongkol, are just a few among those now pressing for change from the ground up.

From above in Bangkok, the ambassadors, the Minister for Tourism and others are likewise pressing keenly for change. It's now or never.

So we hope all our readers and the broader community of the good and the great on Phuket will sense the significance of the moment.

The mood has changed. On Phuket, the change is coming. Are you brave enough to change?

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Many good points in this article. I can confess being one of those grumpy and gloomy expats too but I struggle to be anything else after seeing how things have regressed in the past 10 years.

It's also very true that my sentiment doesn't matter.

What I find very positive in this round of "talks" is the fact that influential Thais are starting to appear equally fed up with empty promises and window dressing.

I can't wait to see how this round plays out.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 13, 2013 15:24

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The editor sounds like a self-absorbed teenager on facebook trolling for some 'likes.' The truth is Phuket is fast becoming 'yesterdays news' and the authorities are acting too late. Corruption and cronyism have ruined Phuket.

Posted by Tommy on June 13, 2013 15:50

Editor Comment:

Oh, hello gloomy, grumpy Tommy. The truth is you're unwilling to accept the truth.

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I'm probably one of those gloomy expats too, but I have good reasons, since I have been working in Patong for more than 10 years . I can see the things getting worse year after year, and now, month after month. It's a kind of an "end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it" atmosphere.
Medias are recording record numbers of visitors, but we don't know where they are. I personnally expect next high season to be much worse.
Even if the changes mentioned by the editor take place, they will be gradual and their effects felt much farther out in the future. The drop in tourism isn't arithmetic but geometric ,and Patong has to totally revamp itself to attract a new breed of tourism.
Nevertheless, much of us are still optimistic, and certainly not grumpy.

Posted by william on June 13, 2013 16:58

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Ed, " pride goes before a fall! "
I clearly remember when you questioned the adverse comments about the non-safety of Phuket. Soon after that, crimes and tragedy have increased and are not yet finished: thanks to the greed and inexperience of the operator and the laxity of the authorities and the police.
Now, you spit on the plate where you're eating. Congratulations!

Posted by George on June 13, 2013 18:36

Editor Comment:

George, I don't think we eat in the same places. I'm also a bit concerned about where you do your thinking. Major crimes involving tourists on Phuket have been reduced, except for the statistics you compile. And fortunately, only you believe those statistics. There are certainly concerns about the safety of tourists still. Thank you for pointing that out.

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It's now or never

Posted by Hans on June 14, 2013 00:38

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change will come because they read my comments on Phuket Wan ,just kidding Ed
but just maybe power of the people will win the day and media like here that all is not well on the island.

Posted by slickmelb on June 14, 2013 03:35

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Think most of the Phuket tourism problems and issues have been unresolved due total lack of accountability.
Lets hope these meetings result in an objective SMART plan. ie. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time based.
If PW is able to access and publish the latter ...could assuage the cynicism of us grumps.
I guess cynicism could be the result of the "urges", "recommends" and "vows" which always populate most government statements?

Posted by david on June 14, 2013 06:32

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Maybe I am a stubby short of a slab but:
What if travel agents and airlines were legislated to include a warning list of issues and problems of destinations with tickets and itineraries "a la" cigarette packs?
Sort of "pay your money and take you're choice". Probably more efficient and cost effective than a truck load of ministerial boondoggles?

Posted by david on June 14, 2013 09:44

Editor Comment:

Every destination has its issues. Phuket's seem gigantic but they're no greater than those in Bali, for example. No doubt the expats in Bali say much the same.

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Collective Change! No, change and/or punish the ones responsible for the mess Phuket are in today. Don't ask people who behave,follow the laws, pay taxes here and pouring in money to the country if they are brave enough to change.

Posted by Harald on June 14, 2013 13:46

Editor Comment:

Some people who make corrupt payments could certainly change.


Monday July 13, 2020
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