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The umbrella may be furled now but the planes keep coming to Phuket

Quality or Quantity: Phuket Numbers Rise But Problem Fixing is What's Wanted

Thursday, February 19, 2015
PHUKET: With quality not quantity becoming the trumpet call for Thailand's tourism, Phuket International Airport continues to capture record numbers of flight passengers.

Which Q are most of these? Because of lower fares and competition among resorts, it's a safe bed that quantity is still trumping quality.

In January, arrivals and departures through the holiday island's air facility reached 1,209,565 - a new record that was 3.29 percent up on the same month the previous year.

Airports of Thailand derives more revenue from quantity so the aim of Phuket's main piece of infrastructure is always going to be at odds with tourism's best interests.

Property developers also want quantity to sell the condos that continue to march aimlessly across the island. Buying for investment is a fool's strategy, though, with so much new product on the market.

Falling-down houses in Phuket City are now being offered for sale for millions of baht above their true value as faint hopes of buyers with more money than sense delude some Phuket residents.

Banks continue to lend extraordinary sums then help the boosters to produce false dreams by publishing figures about the numbers of tourists coming to the island that are as false as the dreams.

Sustainability? That still doesn't get much of a look-in.

The day may have already passed when Phuket had a perfect balance between nature and greed. But sadly, nobody said ''Stop!''

January's figures, though, show that the doomsayers may have to wait a while. There were a total of 688,968 international passenger trips, down 1.47 percent, with 520,597 domestic trips, up 10.36 percent.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Thawatchai Arunyik is urging the government and authorities to promote new destinations among international tourists to relieve congestion at popular places such as Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Krabi.

But at what point will the ''No Vacancy'' sign go up? On Phuket that point may have already been passed.

The problem has been caused by a surge in arrivals that has outpaced infrastructure and social progress, with the result that taxi and tuk-tuk fares remain one of Phuket's blackest marks, along with jet-ski scams.

High prices for transport and food and drink are likely to slow Phuket's increasing popularity. Phuketwan paid 80 baht this week for a young coconut and sat in a Patong beach cafe where the smell of urine rose unmistakably.

We anticipate increasing social issues as numbers of tourists grow, along with the competition to get rich quick.

Prices, infrastructure. Phuket has only its own lack of care and its commitment to greed to blame.

What should be remembered is that the boom in Phuket tourism has been very rapid. It cannot continue, despite what the boosters say.

About 5.5 million passengers arrived and departed in 2007, rising to top seven million in 2010. In 2011, the figure topped 8.4 million

In January 2012, arrivals and departures topped one million in a month for the first time while the total for the year topped 9.5 million. Extraordinary growth followed.

By 2013, that number hit 11.3 million, reaching slightly higher at 11.4 million again in 2014.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


OK this article clearly proves, that this January had been the best month for tourism ever. Locals with other experiences are just greedy doomsayers.

Posted by Sherlock on February 19, 2015 13:50

Editor Comment:

If you say so, Sherlock.


Buying for investment is restricted also by insufficient liquidity at secondary market, as prices are stagnant, and with so many new development going on it is in general, bar unique luxury properties, is often more appealing to buy smth. in the new projects .

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 13:56


The "Quality" tourists really don't exist. Just look at the entire setup in Phuket. Rooms from 200 Baht to beyond 20,000 Baht per night. Unless people want to demolish 95% of Phuket, what they are "seeking" is just a load of rubbish.
As long as people come, people are generally happy.

Posted by Tbs on February 19, 2015 13:59


I remember reading an article on BP a few days back stating that arrivals at HKT had dropped by 7%.

I'm not in a position to dispute either, I just wonder how the discrepancy came about.

My personal opinion is that the best thing that could happen to Phuket would be a dramatic drop in international arrivals.

It would put a stop to the uncontrolled development, ease the strain on the environment and perhaps even bring about a positive change in local service attitudes and pricing.

Posted by Herbert on February 19, 2015 14:08


@ Herbert - it seems that the governor agrees with you.

Posted by Sherlock on February 19, 2015 16:02


Phuket in conjunction with quality will never work. Quality tourists visit other destinations.

Just as Phuket presents itself it is an ideal destination for limited holidaymakers.

I do not mean it negative, it is a factorial. Just the right offer for matching customers.

Limited funding, limited behaviour, limited manners, limited education, limited respect, limited upbringing, education and sense for culture.

These people will always feel at home here, no matter how incompetent, corrupt or criminal some structures here are. It is irrelevant to low quality tourists.

It must be cheap, flight included, and there must be, as they understand it, freedom. So nice to have no rules to follow wether ethical or legal and finally not to be the edge of society like they know it from home.

You can not prevent people from Euro or Ruble problems or strange beach govern themselves. Therefore, the island is also fully this year and it will be next year and the following year also.

Posted by Georg The Viking on February 19, 2015 17:24


think what Ed is saying is backpackers no longer wanted here so sad as they started tourism on Phuket but there a dieing breed still occasionally see people who look like there on there last mile guess they leave Kha san Rd for Ko sumaui more now.

Posted by slickmelb on February 19, 2015 19:21

Editor Comment:

Backpackers are no problem on Phuket. Never have been, never will be. Tourists are no problem on Phuket. The absence of a strategy and lack of an understanding of the harm done by rip-offs, scams and regimentation is the problem. Commitment to greed, not service, is part of that.


It's all bs and you now it nobody is coming here the sooner people relize it the better

Posted by Johnboy on February 19, 2015 22:26


Quality is not on the money they carry on! It's how they behave, how they respect the local customs and traditions, how they behave and treat others around, how they respect the nature!

Posted by Sam on February 20, 2015 12:48


Coming April I am also a tourist arriving at Phuket Airport. If it's still such a mess at the beaches then, I won't stay a single night there but jump directly on an airplane to somewhere else. This week the message about Phuket beach situation (no chair, no umbrella, no food and no smoking was a headline in the most famous Switzerland newspaper. Well the actual governors and mayors in Phuket don't have a clue what they are destroying these days with that behavior. Just my two cents

Posted by fred on February 20, 2015 18:59


This sadly will be our final visit, its all got too silly with police hassling elderly people over chars and umbrellas. Will just have to go and see Vietnam instead.

Posted by Deb on February 21, 2015 10:25

Monday June 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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