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New tourism minister says tourist numbers in Phuket “not as bad as media say”

Tanutam Thawan

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New tourism minister says tourist numbers in Phuket “not as bad as media say” | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, Thai Sports and Tourism minister, on his weekend fact-finding mission – Manager Online

Thailand’s new Sports and Tourism minister says that the drop in tourism in Thailand has been greatly exaggerated in the media.

Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, for whom it is very difficult to find any information online about his past posts or qualifications, told reporters in Phuket at the weekend that Phuket is not “lifeless” as some media have suggested.

According to Manager Online, the Minister conceded that it may be “a bit down” but things are not as bad as some media have reported.

The Minister says that Indian visitors are “on the up” and there are more and more charter flights landing in Phuket. He said that the government had a target to “raise tourism revenues to 30% of Gross Domestic Product” within two years (that’s a direct translation from the Minister’s mouth).

“To achieve this all ministries such as the ministry of interior, transport and the environment must work closely with the ministry of tourism and sports.”

He told Manager Online that his purpose in visiting Phuket was to hear the problems that operators and people on the ground are facing.

“Phuket does not have a low season or a high season – it is a 365 day a year tourism place,” he told the rather bemused Phuket media pack.

The Minister says he wants to make Thailand a “hub of ocean-going tourism”. With this in mind he wants to attract cruise ships to Phuket that would take tourists around the Malay peninsular.

During his fact-finding missing to the island, the minister attended lifeguard training at Patong and a football tournament.

The Thaiger has reported that anecdotal reports from tourism operators and hoteliers say that tourism was at least 30% down during April and May. The claims of the 30% figure were also backed up by the local President of the Thai Hotels Association. Read that report HERE.

But a report by our regular ‘guest reporter’ on Phuket hotel matters says that bookings are already strong for September and October and that the signs are good for the next high-season. Read that story HERE.

Also a story about about 55 new hotels planned or under construction on the holiday island HERE.

SOURCE: Manager Online

New tourism minister says tourist numbers in Phuket New tourism minister says tourist numbers in Phuket

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

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Nigel Pike

    August 6, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Re: “raise tourism revenues to 30% of Gross Domestic Product” Tourism is a frothy business, and always has been. All it takes is a regional war, a virus outbreak, a tourist fatality incident, a weather event, political instability, or (as of now) a rocketing exchange rate, to send tourism’s contribution to GDP south. Any “government target” to increase tourism to 30% of GDP is economic irresponsibility on an industrial scale.

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Patong

Daytime closure looms for Patong beach road

May Taylor

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Daytime closure looms for Patong beach road | The Thaiger

The mayor of Patong, Chalermluck Kebsup, has announced that from August 25, Thaweewong Road, better known as the Patong beach road, will be closed during the day while power and communication cables are installed.

Apologising for the inconvenience, Mayor Chalermluck explains that the closures will be between 6.00am and 4.00pm and expected to last until September 30. She says the work will take place during low season and will be paused for the busy high season.

A 400 metre section of road will be affected, from Bangla Road to Sawatdirak Road, with vehicles prohibited from accessing the area until 4.00pm. However, the restriction does not apply to pedestrians, with footpaths remaining open.

The Thaiger understands that certain vehicles will still be granted access, including those of business owners who need to reach their premises. Such vehicles will need to have permission granted by Patong Municipality. Taxis and tuk-tuks dropping off or picking up customers at these businesses will also be given access.

In total, the 228 million baht joint venture project will see the installation of communications cables, power lines and fibre-optic mains, along a 3 kilometre stretch of the beach road.

It has a completion date of March 5, 2020.

SOURCE: Provincial Electricity Authority

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Patong

How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park

Tim Newton

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How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park | The Thaiger

A rant…

Started off with trying to exit the Jungceylon carpark in Patong, Phuket, late on a Sunday night. After watching a film in their tawdry cinemas, I was assured by ticket sales staff that I should present my ticket stub with the car park card for free exit.

Getting to the exit gate and I was told I had to go to an ‘elevator’ to get my ticket stamped. As there were already three other cars behind me (it was around 9.30pm at this stage), it caused quite a kerfuffle and tempers (mine included) were starting to fray.

The poor woman at the exit booth (whose key work skill must be ‘patience’), kept yelling ‘elevator, elevator’, doing little to inform us what we were actually meant to do. (I wanted to leave a car park, not go on an elevator?!?).

Anyway, minor ‘misunderstanding’ sorted out soon enough, and returned to my car to exit the car park (about 10 minutes later).

A Russian man had had his own adventures with the Jungceylon car park the night before. Firstly he was stuck there on the Saturday night with a flat battery in his white sedan. As it was very late, and wanting to get home, he left the car in the space and took a taxi.

As I was sorting out my own car park ‘misunderstanding’, other car park staff assisted him with his flat battery by jump starting his car. The assisting staff were given a gratuity, I don’t know how much.

But on reaching the exit gate he was told he had to pay 1,800 baht. (Presumably for around 24 hours of car parking).

With his fist full of receipts, around 3,300 baht worth, he was also told ‘elevator, elevator’. He got out of his car, there were another three cars backed up behind him at this stage, and went to find the ‘elevator’. Upon returning he was now told he had to pay 2,600 baht! How the amount had magically inflated to 2,600 baht remains a mystery but the cark park ‘gatekeeper’ was not to be messed with.

By this stage about eight young Thai gentlemen, with name tags, keys hanging from their belts and hand-held radios, had turned up to ‘assist’ in addressing my complaints and ensuring that the Russian man was not able to leave the car park before paying the 2,600 baht. The only common language among the Russians and the Thais in the situation was English and it was not going well.

Google Translate was getting a fine workout but wasn’t really helping.

During the extended ‘negotiations’ the cars behind were detoured around and allowed free exit.

Given the man’s travails in having a flat battery, having to come back to the steamy car park late on a Sunday night, the cars piling up behind him and the loss of face for just about everyone at this stage, the ‘smart’, good PR thing to do would have been to thank him for spending 3,300 baht at their expensive shopping centre, lifted the boom gate and waved him on his way.

But no, these young Thai car park staff wanted their pound of flesh and there was no way in the world that barrier was going to be lifted until the man had paid every baht he ‘owed’. Three police turned up to try and sort things out but all departed in exasperation, knowing the car park staff were being pig-headed but unable to intervene because they would have caused their fellow Thais a loss of face.

At this stage the Thai car park staff were already starting to utter things under their breath and spitting out ‘farang’ in their deliberations.

During the entire two hour drama many other cars had the same issue of not understanding that they needed to report to the bottom of one of the ‘elevators’ to have their receipts stamped. There didn’t appear to be any signage or understanding of the procedure (until, of course, you go through this rather drawn out lesson in Jungceylon car park procedure). There was a sign outside the elusive ‘elevator’ but given there are seven other exits from the car park you’re unlikely to see them.

Apart from Jungceylon losing the patronage of at least two, or more, customers over their overly-officious and unprofessional behaviour, the system will surely remain unfixed waiting for the next stupid ‘farang’ to stroll innocently into the underground farrago.

The only bright light in the dingy car park fiasco was the pleasant young gentlemen sitting at the ‘elevator’ with his stamps and gracious smile, wearing full eye make up and blissfully unaware of the surly car park Nazis. He profusely apologised but I am fairly sure he was none-the-wiser about my lengthy explanation of the situation.

Give the man a pay rise!

For Jungceylon, I would urge better signage, in a few languages (it IS a tourist town), to inform us about their rather opaque car park procedures.

I did ask for a statement to include in this story from some of the ‘people with hand radios’ or a comment from the Manager. But there was none forthcoming. Our forum remains wide open for a response from management.

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Patong

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety

Tanutam Thawan

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Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.

He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.

He was 57 years old.

He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.

The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.

Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”

Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger

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