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Can Phuket survive? Interview with Bill Barnett | VIDEO

Bill Barnett

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Can Phuket survive? Interview with Bill Barnett | VIDEO | The Thaiger
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Interview with Bill Barnett from c9Hotelworks. Phuket has now been hit with a 3rd major crisis, each one more profound than the long-term effects from the 2004 tsunami. Now the island has new restrictions imposed on arrivals on the southern island, imposed by the Phuket Provincial Authority.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John_2

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    And this is the “expert” who said it would all be over by June 2020.

  2. Avatar

    Joe

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Good interview.

  3. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Excellent interview and video footage,top marks again to the thaiger team and Mr Barnett for his open honest appraisal.

  4. Avatar

    Hypocrite

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    So you cherry pick your comments to post ? thethaiger has shown it’s true colors.

  5. Avatar

    zig

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    what does he know?

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    So he thinks Phuket needs to be run by a mayor “like Pattaya”?

    Gobsmacked doesn’t even come near it …..

  7. Avatar

    James R

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    I really do not know what they keep on going in a around in circles in Thailand and trying to come up with impossibilities.

    Tourism is close all over the world, a tiny fraction of people are willing to travel, everyone else is staying at home, they are not even going to the next town in their own countries.

    In six months or a year when the West has been vaccinated then they will be willing to travel, why waste time and words, that is the only thing which will work.

    The problem is will tourists want to go to an unvaccinated populations in Thailand who keep on saying they have ordered the vaccine which may be given to a few people over the next six months?

    And there is a big difference between ordering something and it being delivered.

    Talk it up Thailand but we are not all fools.

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 12:25 am

    I read there are 50.000 Burmese, Laos and Cambodians there still surviving, many illegal, so it cannot be too bad.
    However it will be for the Thais, who are used to working in air conditioning out of the sun.
    The remedy is clear. Send the cheap labour home, put on the straw hats, and break into a sweat.
    The easy money from the westerners is gone.
    I hope the Thais saved a little money from the good years.

  9. Avatar

    Bigsleazypappa

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 4:32 am

    Sad sad desperate times for the Thai people I really feel for them and their economy. It’s going to get worse before it gets better Iv said this for quite some time now. Who knows what the future holds? In my opinion the Thai government need to have a plan but unfortunately theirs maybe a year behind England let’s say and COVID had only started. Thailand could be a disaster waiting to happen. Stay safe guys

  10. Avatar

    Rawai Steve

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 4:57 am

    The reality is that no one knows and that’s the simple truth. Even the experts going by their extensive experience can only speculate. My humble observation is this after traveling Thailand for over 30 years and having lived their for 6 years, married to a Thai and have a residence there. I watched Phuket become over developed very quick after the Tsunami. It was incredible seeing the development take place and everyone making money. An island that did not have so many cars now had many. There was no plan in place and you could build whatever you wanted no matter how poorly planned it was and the Government allowed it all. Now there are far to many fingers in the pie and that will slow the pace of recovery but it will recover in time. There is a excellent opportunity to reset here and some are doing that, cleaning up their area and that is a key point for the tourists that want to experience a pure environment. The beaches on Phuket are amazing and it is imperative that they are kept clean along with the water and coral. We had planned to move back to Thailand and thought we would have been back already but Covid hit. We are hoping to move back late this year and we are both forever optimistic.

  11. Avatar

    J West

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Dozens of airlines and nearly 10,000 operating in Phuket. Who says the government needs to step in and subsidize any of them with debt moratorium and tax payer perks. If a business isn’t profitable it goes out of business, period. Que sera sera.

    We will know what tourism looks like when the smoke clears and the dead wood gets burned away….and that will be the new normal. dreaming about replicating the past isn’t reality, let it go. If your hotel or beer bar fails, welcome to capitalism. No one owes you an income. Any new business models that arrive will be designed to cater to the market, not selling Thailand as an extension of European pricing.

    Basing the national economy on tourism was a giant mistake to begin with, smart investors study risk management including diversification. Bring the old Phuket back to life will only invite another disaster of some new catalyst in the future. The truly great outcome of all this is seeing the rip offs and pirates in the service industry getting squashed like bugs.

    Say good bye to double pricing, gouging, beach and taxi mafia, tourist menus. In the future tourists should be considered a gift and a blessing, not called “ dirty Farang” and cursed.

    • Avatar

      James R

      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 7:59 pm

      Two thirds of the Thai economy is based on exports, tourism is only 15% of GDP so the economy is not based on tourism.

      And the vast number of tourists are not farangs they are from Asia so you are not as you think that important but for some reason many farangs in Thailand think they are.

  12. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Just two white men, that they think that they know everything about Thailand .

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

Business

Future of Thai department stores is being redefined

The Thaiger

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Future of Thai department stores is being redefined | The Thaiger

While department stores have been a familiar destination for Thai people for many decades, CBRE, an international property consultant, is witnessing a decline in popularity and stunted growth, particularly in 2020 when Covid-19 adversely impacted the sector. CBRE believes that to adapt to e-commerce disruption and the changing consumer behaviour, department stores in 2021 (and beyond) will have to fine-tune their business model in terms of customer shopping experience, inventive activities and value-added programmes to continue their status as the second home for Thai shoppers.

Jariya Thumtrongkitkul, Head of Advisory and Transaction Services – Retail, CBRE Thailand explained… “While department stores offer shoppers convenience, saving them time with many varieties of goods grouped in different departments and allowing the shoppers to find and compare products and choose what they want, the traditional department store model does not fit the needs, lifestyle and behaviour of its shoppers anymore, especially the new generations.”

According to CBRE Research, the total retail supply in Bangkok as of Q4 2020 increased to 7.8 million square metres, a 1.16% increase year-on-year. Out of this, only approximately 3% was reported within the department store format. The department store market in Thailand is mainly dominated by two domestic retail giants, with Central Group and The Mall Group holding the largest market shares. They do not only concentrate in Bangkok, but have also opened department stores in many major cities throughout the country which allowed them to build bigger networks and grow their customer base.

In the past few decades, Japanese investors had also shown interest in entering the Thai market and offered local features that are well-known in Japanese department stores: simplicity, premium quality and services. However, with strong competition many Japanese department store operators have ceased their expansion plans. Some have exited the country due to the fierce competition against the local players, their performance in Thailand and the shrinking Japanese department store business, especially in overseas countries.

“The department store concept as a one stop shopping place is still in demand for certain groups of customers. However, with the e-commerce disruption and changing consumer behaviour, department store operators need to adapt their models, offerings and value-added services to their customers to cope with the challenging economic and market conditions.”

Adaptability of department stores can be highlighted into 3 main parts: customer shopping experience, inventive sales and marketing activities, and value-added programmes. While more and more younger generations prefer to shop online to save time and money, the brick-and-mortar store is still believed to be the second home for Thai shoppers. Department stores should be more agile in the era of e-commerce and adopt some technological innovations such as in-store automation and mobile payment solutions to reach the younger crowds.

Design is another aspect that plays an important part in customer shopping experience. Department stores can be more creative in remodelling traditional department store space into some ingenious and interactive space with a great design and right product portfolio mix for their customers.

The Mall Group, for example, has launched its first “Lifestore” concept at The Mall Ngamwongwan at the end of 2020 by redesigning and renovating its traditional department store space to enhance customer shopping experience and enjoyment.

The second part to be considered for the adaptability comprises inventive activities related to sales and marketing. The prices of products being sold in a department store are normally set high to cover the higher establishment and operating costs by operators, narrowing their target to only upper- to high-income customers.

Brand offerings may also no longer meet fast-changing customer needs since today’s shoppers have more choices in buying products online, not to mention the declining footfall due to the growth of e-commerce. CBRE Research has seen domestic players pushing hard to drive sales growth via numerous promotions, marketing campaigns and activities and collaboration with credit card companies during seasonal sales.

The third part consists of value-added programmes such as personal shopper, customer loyalty programme, on-demand solution and service personalisation, which have become a new trend as customers, including the aging population, are now more sophisticated and demanding.

The retail landscape has changed drastically in the past few years from various factors like technological advancement, consumer behaviour and preference as well as Covid-19. Cookie-cutter strategy will be a thing of the past, especially for department stores where the format and offerings have remained the same for decades.

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US jobs market stumbles back into decline

The Thaiger

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US jobs market stumbles back into decline | The Thaiger

The labour market for the world’s largest economy is heading back into reverse mode after slowly chugging back into gear over the past 8 months, following the March stock crash and initial impacts of the US state lockdown measures.. The December report was the first drop since April figures, providing the strongest evidence of the impact of the huge number of Covid-19 infections weighing on the economy.

“Nonfarm payrolls” in the US fell by 140,000 in December, the data published by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics showed yesterday. This reading follows November’s increase of 336,000 (revised from 245,000) and missed the market expectation of +71,000 by a wide margin.

Further details of the publication revealed that the Unemployment Rate stayed unchanged at 6.7% and the Average Hourly Earnings rose by 0.8% on a monthly basis.

“Nonfarm payroll employment is a compiled name for goods, construction and manufacturing companies in the US. It does not include farm workers, private household employees, or non-profit organisation employees.”

The weakness in the US jobs market largely reflects job cuts at restaurants and hospitality venues impacted by revised restrictions.

The President-elect will inherit an economy that’s down almost 10 million jobs compared with before the pandemic. The pace of hiring will be hard-pressed to accelerate until a meaningful portion of the general population is vaccinated, with distribution in the US running slower than planned and potentially holding back the recovery.

Other parts of the US labour market held up in last month’s figures. Retail, professional and business services, construction and manufacturing all posted job gains, indicating much of the economy continues to stagger back to economic health. The number of unemployed Americans who permanently lost a job declined to a four-month low of 3.37 million.

Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays says parts of the US economy continue to show some resilience.

“Outside of consumer-facing sectors the remainder of the economy continues to show resilience. It does show that if we can get control of the pandemic, then we can restore economic activity and labor market conditions over the course of this year. It’s a pandemic-driven number, a pandemic-driven composition.”

“The pace of hiring will be hard-pressed to accelerate until a meaningful portion of the general population is vaccinated, with distribution in the US running slower than planned and potentially holding back the recovery.”

A new viral strain of Covid-19, that led to new or extended lockdowns in the UK and Germany, has now been identified in the US, which risks spurring more restrictions that could hinder hirings over the coming months.

In December, there was an average of 1.5 million new cases per week in the US and Covid-related deaths continued to rise at a record pace, forcing some states to ramp up business restrictions leading to an uptick in layoffs.

Private-sector payrolls, excluding government jobs, decreased by 95,000 last month following a 417,000 gain in November.

SOURCE: Bloomberg | USA Today

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Covid-19 could cost an estimated 9 billion baht loss to the economy – Thai alcohol association

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Covid-19 could cost an estimated 9 billion baht loss to the economy – Thai alcohol association | The Thaiger

An alcohol business association is saying the latest round of restrictions and closures on pubs and bars could cost the industry and businesses 9 billion baht.

The Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association is railing against the Thai government’s policies as they restrict the operations and operating hours of tens of thousands of bars, pubs and clubs around the country. They claim the impact affects a million people’s lives who rely on the industry for employment.

The secretary-general of TABBA addressed his remarks speaking out against the closure of nightlife, bars, pubs, karaoke and the ban on alcohol consumption at restaurants. The Thai government has limited operating hours and imposed new restrictions on the country’s bars and nightlife venues. They’ve also banned the serving of alcohol at restaurants during this current outbreak of cases sweeping the central part of Thailand, including Bangkok.

The Thai government has not yet responded to TABBA’s concerns.

The Association claims that the measures are “too strict” and would “hurt many small businesses” saying that Thai people were already struggling for the past year due to lack of tourism and patronage.

Thanakorn Kuptajit also estimated, depending on how long the restrictions and measures last, the alcohol industry could see the total value of the industry drop from 370 billion to 300 billion baht.

“If the ban on drinking alcohol at restaurants could not be lifted or if entertainment venues needed to stay closed that the government should consider a temporary relief on a law passed December 7, 2020, that banned online sales of alcohol in Thailand.”

At the time the government introduced its ban on online sales of alcohol, the new Covid-19 outbreak, which became apparent on December 20, starting around the Samut Sakhon fishing markets, was another 2 weeks away.

“The industry and small business owners should have the opportunity to provide takeaway service and that they were ready to comply with best practices like checking identification and ensuring people purchasing were of legal age.”

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