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Expert Warns Phuket Numbers Game Doomed to Fail

Expert Warns Phuket Numbers Game Doomed to Fail

Monday, February 7, 2011
PHUKET'S future as a tourism destination would be uncertain unless the industry turned from numbers to nature, says Tunyaratt Achariyachai, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Tourism of the Senate.

Khun Tunyaratt told Phuketwan that the number of tourists had become more important to many than than the quality of the tourists.

''There's no point in concentrating purely on numbers,'' she said. ''The environment is being damaged in the process.

''Many people on Phuket do not seem to be concerned where the money comes from, as long as it comes.''

Khun Tunyaratt warned that every beach was under assault to one degree or another from people who sought to make money from construction, or from loungers and umbrellas, or from restaurants.

''Why is there no long-term thinking? What Phuket needs is regular guests who enjoy the beauty they find when they come here, not people who come once, are disappointed, then never come back again.''

Phuket was vulnerable and at present at the mercy of people for whom money was the only objective, she said.

Khun Tunyaratt's comments echo those of others with a broad and deep knowledge of Phuket and its tourism industry.

One veteran of Phuket's diving industry, Pakdee Kuthanang, attributes some of the changes to the different attitude of non-Thai workers in Patong.

She said that touts in the time share, tailoring and restaurant industries harassed tourists more forcefully than Thais.

The Patong locals, usually gentler in their approach and traditionally not hasslers or prone to pushing people into sales, had taken to following the example set by the touts.

The result was a far less appealing mix of aggressive commercialism in Patong, she said.
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Comments

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Khun Pakdee has adopted the typical 'blame the foreigner' attitude that is used too many times by Thais who are either too afraid, too ignorant or too blinkered to face the painful truth about the real reasons for Phuket's woes.

Greed is not an occupation reserved only for foreigners...

Posted by Simon Luttrell on February 7, 2011 19:51

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I could not agree more with Khun Tunyaratt. The special magic of Phuket has been under threat for some time from over-development. Locals will, no doubt, be pleased, to have these points made at high level. The big question remains however, as to what action can - or will be - will be taken given the lack of an effective island-wide elected administration.

Posted by rfdunedin on February 8, 2011 00:47

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Agreed with the points but it is a bit racist blaming the foreigners for being aggressive. Look at JJ the jet ski scammer, we all saw the video of the harassment, and at gun point.

Posted by Michael on February 8, 2011 05:10


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