PHUKET: Phuket is being called a place ''where corruption, greed and short-term thinking are destroying what once attracted tourists.''
Quote ''There are no limits when it comes to finding new ways to make money from tourists. Many testify to the mafia-like cartels.''
Quote ''Phuket in Thailand has become a nightmare for many Swedish holidaymakers.''
Quote ''Headline: A Paradise - for Fraudsters''
A series of articles that blows the lid off Phuket's problems is being carried in Sweden's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Aftonbladet.
It follows the publication earlier this week in Australia of a stinging indictment of Phuket's lack of international standards in the country's most influential newspapers - and reprinted in Phuketwan - highlighting Phuket tourism's chronic problems.
Australia and Sweden are two of Phuket's largest tourism markets. This week's articles are likely to raise questions at the highest level in Bangkok and add to intense pressure for speedy change on Phuket.
The author and co-author of many of the Aftonbladet articles, Bangkok-based journalist Jan Kallman, said today: ''It may not be good for tourism but it's good for tourists. As consumers, people need to know what to expect.''
Phuketwan, consulted for the series, has chronicled the scams of jet-ski operators, the extortionate and thuggish behavior of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, corruption in law-enforcement agencies and the ''see no evil'' approach of some local officials.
This week's articles will strike like missiles to the tourist heartlands that keep Phuket's tourism industry functioning. The explosion is likely to come later, as government officials in Bangkok are informed by Thailand's ambassadors in Sweden and Australia of the damage.
Phuket's honorary consuls in regular meetings with local authorities have done their job and, after two years of regular constructive criticism, passed the process of continuing pressure over to their embassies in Bangkok.
Local business leaders on Phuket have assisted the Phuket Governor's committees to report to the Interior Ministry on the issues that the island can't handle.
Phuket may be basking in a balmy breeze this high season, but in Bangkok, Phuket's future will be one of the political hot issues next week.
Phuketwan believes 2012 will be a vital year for Phuket and its tourism industry. Believe it or not, there are still people who can't see the problems, who urge us to ''write about the good things'' . . .
Phuket remains a great tourist destination and, with its risks and rip-offs removed, should remain a great destination for generations to come. But those risks and rip-offs have to go.
If Thailand's government and Phuket enforcers can get it right in 2012, the failures and flaws of the past can be overcome. Get it wrong and . . . well, there's no second chance.
For Phuket, 2012 will be its most important year in decades.