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Bhumikit Raktemga, getting the word about Phuket out there in Thai

Why Changes are Needed Now

Sunday, August 18, 2013
Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: Bhumikit Raktemga is, in many ways, the man who spilled the beans about Phuket. He has boldly gone public and published a free magazine in the Thai language, openly revealing Phuket's problems.

The media on Phuket seldom takes a hard look at Phuket tourism but the second issue of 'Saphan Hin' magazine contained scathing comments from two honorary consuls, Australia's Larry Cunningham and Germany's Dirk Naumann.

The expat pair are long-term Phuket residents who hate to see Phuket's problems being allowed to grow worse, not better.

On the magazine's cover was Wichit na Ranong, owner of the Indigo Pearl, who slammed developers for uncontrollable greed and warned about the consequences of lack of planning and pollution.

Phuket's problems are not new to readers of Phuketwan but projecting them in the Thai language through the words of a Phuket tourism pioneer takes them, at long last, to the next level.

Coincidentally, a campaign to ''clean up'' Phuket has followed the magazine's no-punches-pulled approach, although the campaign owes more to presure from envoys than Phuket's resort owners.

Whether the ''clean up'' campaign, being led by the Department of Special Investigation, tackles Phuket's entrenched corruption remains to be seen.

The DSI are viewed by many as dabblers who are often unwilling to let justice interfere with traditional ways of doing business.

The farcical declaration on arrival at Phuket airport of the 'Phuket Target 11' without any evidence being presented has done nothing to enhance the DSI's reputation.

Yet with the Crime Crisis centres and enforcement follow-through, there is now a real chance to effectively sort out Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk related transport issues.

Get public transport sorted and Phuket has a future. Fail to sort it out and investors will simply move on, like so many in Phuket's tourist fan club.

The world is watching. The further the DSI is prepared to go, the better the future for Phuket, and for Thailand.

In a speech last week to a tourim forum on Phuket, resort owner Khun Bhumikit expanded on some of the points made by Messrs Naumann and Cunningham and Khun Wichit.

It's plain that Phuket needs to win back long-stay tourists and renew its appeal to visitors who have money to spend on the island, he told his audience.

With 28 percent of tourists now coming from China, the issue of being reliant on one source - and a source controlled by the Chinese government - could become a problem.

To even consider being a world-class destination, Phuket needs to improve safety and security and good service.

''Travelling point-to-point on Phuket is hardly world-class,'' Khun Bhumikit said. Big government happily took Phuket's tax revenue but returned little, he added.

''No-one has the real heart to solve the problems of Phuket,'' he said, going on to call on original Phuket people to start doing their share.

His key point, well expressed, was that Phuket people were intent on short-term gain despite the prospect of long-term pain.

They now have to be prepared to reverse that situation and take short-term pain for long-term gain.

The test will come on several levels in the next few weeks as Phuket people come to terms with these clear-cut options and decide Phuket's future.

A Date to Become Involved


WITH HIS VIEWS attracting wide interest, Wichit na Ranong will speak about Phuket's changing tourism landscape on Friday, September 6, at the Indigo Pearl Resort.

It's an Amcham event. Admission from 5.30pm is 100 baht and includes a free drink during the networking cocktails that follow. To reserve a spot, please visit www.amchamthailand.com, contact Sheree Tanpensuk at sheree@amchamthailand.com or telephone 02-254-1041 ext 212.

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Brave man. Sorry I am leaving next week or I would come along to support.

Posted by Logic on August 18, 2013 11:13

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come on DSI do something with the Target 11 that we can see change please?
I like the CCC though. I had mail seized in Bangkok. The guys demanded my original passport. I declined to send it up. After 3 weeks of getting nowhere, I mentioned that the CCC had opened here and I had all the emails etc and I would submit them for a ruling. Now my gambit was to be played. I asked them to make sure my letter arrived in my hand not later than 24 hours. Holy mackrel if the following morning at ten o'clock, the postman arrived at my house with my letter and not 1 Satang to pay. The very mention of the CCC was enough to get action from Bangkok. So DSI on Phuket, let's see your action please?

Posted by Robin on August 18, 2013 12:06

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[quote]
With 28 percent of tourists now coming from China, the issue of being reliant on one source - and a source controlled by the Chinese government - could become a problem.
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Not a problem for me! The Chinese ambassador does not mince his words and tells the ugly truth how it is.

If it takes fear of losing a major income source unless the island is cleaned up, then I say 'Ni Hao' to the Chinese and urge them not to be afraid to confront the spineless officials in Phuket who only seem to respond positively when their wallets are threatened.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on August 18, 2013 16:38

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Me and my spouse used to be fans of Phuket. But since so many things have changed, (notice the very diplomatic way of putting it) Changes not in favour of Phuket as a high end destination for my taste; I'm in my 50.s, don't travel on a budget, used to travel all over. Have been visiting Phuket many times. I'm not bothered by many of the scams, I don't use tuk tuk as transport, don't rent anything at Patong Beach. But - Phuket has become to crowded with Cheap Tourists from Russia and China. Call me rasist if you like, but these groups are not very popular, for many reasons. And, more important, the Island has become to Dirty, look at Surin Beach... It used to be the millionairs beach. Now: Sunchairs in excess, not very clean. We will travel to Phuket this winter, but after that we'll give it up and look for another Winter holliday destination. Not necesserily Thailand. Many people I know, so called "high end Tourists", don't go to Phuket anymore and will never recommend a first time Thailand traveller to go there. That's fact allready and will be extremely difficult to change.

Posted by Swede from Malmo on August 18, 2013 18:35

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Hi Robin, I doubt that the post office were even aware of the CCC here. I went to the airport to file a complaint at the CCC and the airport information clerks didn't even know about it. I finally found it in the arrivals area and needed a security escort to get to it. There were no police from Bangkok. I did file a complaint over a week ago. No phone call back or even a short email from them. I think the choice of location of their office makes it clear enough they don't want to be bothered by people filing complaints. Has anybody else gone to the CCC at the airport? Has anybody had any result?? I would love to hear that they are doing more than just making a bit of noise...

Posted by Tim on August 19, 2013 09:05


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