Minister Pipat gets earful about Phuket tourism issues

PHOTO: Local operators complain to Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn about issues harming the industry. (via PR Phuket)

Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn visited Phuket yesterday to listen to the range of critical infrastructure issues harming the local tourism industry. These issues include mafia-run hotels, problematic taxi drivers, heavy traffic, and a shortage of tap water.

The meeting was held at the Andaman Health Promotion Coordination Center Conference Room at the Prince of Songkhla University Phuket Campus, where the Chairman of the Advisory Board to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul joined Pipat.

With the tourist season in full swing, problems that might have been minor before have become glaring snags damaging tourism in Phuket. The meeting provided a platform for locals in the tourism industry to voice their concerns and offer their perspectives on the challenges that the private sector is facing.

A significant obstacle for the province of Phuket is the lack of infrastructure to support the influx of tourists, which has led to transportation and traffic issues, logistics challenges, and road congestion. The notes for the meeting released by the Phuket Info Center highlighted the traffic issue, as well as water and labour deficiencies.

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“Phuket faces fundamental problems in terms of infrastructure such as road congestion due to the increasing number of cars, roads that need to be made and expanded, water used leading to inadequate reserves, labour shortage, and safety in life and property [of tourists].”

The issue of making new roads and expanding existing ones was discussed. Pipat said a study group would look into having road projects taken over by larger government departments with more extensive budgets. He also promised to look into the issue of sufficient tap water.

The report mentioned a look into regulatory barriers preventing small hotels from legally operating. Pipat also urged anyone with information about foreign mafia or other illegal activities that damage tourism in the area to inform relevant authorities.

“About the mafia in the area, at this point, we are coordinating with the Tourist Police and regular police in the area. We are encouraging the supervision of safety and will coordinate and provide instructions to the national agency of the Royal Thai Police to oversee this matter as well.

“We must be reminded that in terms of taking care of the safety and security of tourists, including businesses operated by the use of nominees and various illegal behaviours that cause damage to tourism in the area, if anyone knows of them they must inform the relevant authorities, such as the Tourist Police, local police and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, among others.

“Tourism has begun to return to Phuket, and we must join together as good hosts so that we can create a positive image for Phuket and Thailand to be a sustainable tourism destination.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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