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Phuket's Search for Peace and Happiness Continues

Sunday, July 29, 2012
PHUKET: Changes in attitude and approach are desperately needed on Phuket, one of the island's leading tourism industry figures said this week.

In an extensive interview with Phuketwan, Senator Tunyaratt Achariyachai put her support behind the ''Phuket, City of Peace and Happiness'' project.

''It's a project to improve the standards of safety and security for tourists and for Phuket residents,'' Senator Tunyaratt said.

The aim is to spend 270 million baht providing a layer of technology to support authorities whose aim is to protect Phuket.

In Bangkok on Thursday, key aspects of the ''Phuket, City of Peace and Happiness'' project were revealed.

These include:

..Consolidation of the present security camera system with the introduction of new cameras and a heightened preparedness to react;

..A Geographic Information System that maps Phuket and all its major roadways and installations, water supply and electricty connections and provides information for speedy reaction to breakdowns and emergencies;

..A Vehicle Information System so buses and other vehicles can be more easily monitored from licence plates and other information;

..A Face Recognition System so that police could check on a person's background straight into a data bank using a smartphone;

..A Foreigner Advance Search that would provide passport numbers, an address and other personal background.

About 56 million baht would be required next year for gradual implementation of the whole 270 million baht package over four years.

Although technology can help to solve some of Phuket's problems, Senator Tunyaratt also believes the core issues have more to do with changes in attitude.

''Lately we have had reports that some beach operators are stopping tourists sitting on towels and claiming that the beaches are private,'' Senator Tanyaratt said.

''That is just not acceptable. More and more, the beaches are being despoiled by private commercial interests.''

Phuketwan believes the only way to save Phuket's beaches is to establish a single Phuket Beach Authority, with money from limited commercial beach activities being directed into protecting the beaches.

''One thing that might help,'' Senator Tanyaratt said, ''is for Phuket authorities to visit places such as Hawaii where the beaches remain attractive and where activities are clearly controlled.''

Whether knowledge is an antidote for greed remains the issue. With every beach more or less controlled by a different local authority, there is no overall strategy.

''I also believe it should be possible to have different activities on the beach at different times, and perhaps to clear all the loungers and other clutter entirely so that natural sunsets can be enjoyed by everyone.

''Sadly, Phuket is becoming more and more like Pattaya,'' Senator Tanyaratt warned.

Senator Tanyaratt said that the once pure white sands of Karon had been discolored with poor management, contamination and pollutants.

''Cooking oil and dirty water have tainted the sand and made it much darker than it was 10 years ago,'' she said. ''That's a shame, and it shows how Phuket is changing.''

Phuket simply cared about greater numbers of tourists rather than quality, she said. As a result Phuket's own quality was suffering.

''Food prices are also becoming an issue that more and more tourists complain about,'' she said.

The food rip-off was simple. Creative photo menus purported to show the meal, but when the plate arrived in front of the diner, the portion was often much smaller, she said.

''The cost of living is rising rapidly on Phuket so the restaurant owners deal with it by reducing the food portions,'' Senator Tanyaratt said.

The same kind of selfish, unregulated approach applied to fireworks that were fired off virtually every night in high season unchecked along the holiday west coast, despite complaints from tourists and hotel managers.

''Sky lanterns are also dangerous and have been known to start fires,'' she said. ''Yet there is no proper application of the law.''

The budget for infrastructure and enforcement was always lower than it should be because tourists and workers from other provinces were not included in the calculations, she said.

In Singapore, she said, where the number of resort rooms was controlled to match the predicted number of tourists, three-star resorts were often upgraded to four-star or five-star to meet demand.

But on Phuket the reverse was happening, she said, with five-stars and four-stars often forced to drop their prices to three-star levels to compete because of the oversupply of resorts.

Comments

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Hawaii would certainly be a perfect model.
They really do it well and have got all the mixes right.
Clean uncluttered beaches, picnic areas, maintained beachfront parks, a proud cultural atmosphere and best of all a hop-on hop-off bus shuttle service around the major tourist and shopping precincts.

Posted by Hugh Jarse on July 29, 2012 11:32

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Technology is fine, but what is critical is people - enough tourist police, life guards and other caring tourist service providers - and their spirit of service.

I'm from Hawaii. The Aloha spirit there is evident from the government officials, to the designated tourist helpers, to the hotel staffs. Tourists feel welcome and cared for.

Phuket has tremendous potential to either surpass the tourist areas of Hawaii or become a terrible mess and a waste of opportunity.

Posted by RI on July 29, 2012 16:21

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Agree with the above postings re' Hawaii...I lived there for many years and worked in the travel/visitor industry there on a management level...Phuket should really study what they have done there.

Posted by sky on July 29, 2012 17:00

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It is indeed good news that a Senator is starting to talk about Phuket's problems (and point out some problems)

My personal thoughts are that she might need to focus on 'catching the snake by its head and not by its tail'

Knowledge is not an antidote for greed as it can be seen my many politicians who have better education than most of us so it seems (everyone seems to have a PHD etc..)

Fact is the humans only change their attitude for two reasons.
1.) If truly 'wish' to change
2.) If they have a very big 'shock'

As so many people here are used to get away with everything, they do not wish to change anything! Therefore, I strongly believe, people here will only change attitude when tourists will start to stay away from the former pearl of the Andaman Sea (Phuket).
I pray that our authorities will finally find the courage and will-power to accept, address and solve Phuket's problems and that it will not end the way I mentioned above.

Posted by Mr. K on July 29, 2012 18:22

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the main problem is corruption... the rest is nothing.

Posted by dave on July 29, 2012 19:53

Editor Comment:

I would say, dave, the real problem is greed. Even good-hearted people can be too greedy to see the reality.

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Yep, Hawai, always a pleasure to come there, american hospitality at it's best ....and I do certainly like Miami too (:

Posted by Bjarne on July 29, 2012 20:24

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Loads of talk about nice trips to Hawaii and Technology - but nothing about the grass routes, such as Tuk Tuks, JetSkis, Beach Encroachment - it's all talk with no definitive plans.

You simply cannot effect change when all you do is talk about the problem - the problems are evident, you simple need to implement action to sort it out.

If I had $10 for every bit of lip service I've heard over the last ten years I'd retire a billionaire.

Posted by Graham on July 29, 2012 20:39

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If you do not like it leave .
Market prices at market value .
Phuket is growing up .

Posted by Neil Bryan on July 29, 2012 23:41

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If everyone always just "left" instead of trying to change things for the better, we would all still be living in caves.

Phuket is definitely not growing up, it's just getting fatter.

Posted by Andrew on July 30, 2012 09:09

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"But on Phuket the reverse was happening, she said, with five-stars and four-stars often forced to drop their prices to three-star levels to compete because of the oversupply of resorts. "
She knows not only this out of first hand, because her husband ist K. Pamuke Achariyachai, the
President of Kata Group and the
Honorary Consul-General of Finland in Phuket.
It's only the question, what really can be done, as some of this problems got delivered with the hotel business. Do the hotels have to be connected to waste water systems, p.ex.? Where exactely are this facilities, at Karon Beach area, Patong, Kamala, or the Meridiens? Can they support all the needs, for cleaning the waste water, before it reaches the beaches?

Posted by ??? on July 30, 2012 12:22

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Never been to Hawaii so should not really comment but I have seen Dog the bounty Hunter and that seems to show that Hawaii is not all smelling of roses. But hey what does the shark know. Big love to all. Ed love ya.

Posted by Jay Leshark on July 30, 2012 14:23

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What about the misappropriation of service charge funds? Resorts stealing from guests and tourists is not sustainable...

Posted by J on July 30, 2012 16:01

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Peace and happiness will arrive when the powerful people who call for "peace" and justice also look at themselves, their own business practices and public responsibility!

Posted by j on July 30, 2012 17:33

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Please don't start with committees to setup committees, to check on committees and then get more committees. Hell we are sick and tired of these committees, we see no positive action, only endless ramblings.

Posted by Dun on July 30, 2012 22:59


Wednesday October 27, 2021
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