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Phuket & Koh Samui face financial ruin in the short to medium term – VIDEO

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Phuket and Samui are both islands, fed mostly by arrivals at their international airports. Of course, both remain closed and the islands are trying to survive on a dribble of domestic tourists. And there’s no sign of hope any time soon for the future. Bill Barnett is ‘Mr Hotel & Hospitality’ for Thailand and the region. What does he see as the short and long term solutions? Your comments are also welcome, below. You can also watch our stark report about how empty Phuket actually is HERE.

Bill is the MD and leading consultant for c9hotelworks.com

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Mike Frenchie

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Bill, the vaccine will be only 50-70% effective, you are right… we need to live with the covid!

  2. Issan John

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    I’m sorry to say it , but I was hoping for rather more from “‘Mr Hotel & Hospitality’ for Thailand and the region” in answer to your question of “What does he see as the short and long term solutions?” than …

    “Nothing …”

    “We have to learn to live with Covid as we did with terrorism … take your shoes off at the airport …”

    “The Maldives and Zanzibar have re-opened …”

    “We’re not seeing the government address desperate measures … we’re not seeing anything long term …”

    Sorry, but to be honest that’s a bit disappointing.

    … and, FWIW, Zanzibar’s over four times the size of Phuket with only 5% of the tourists, and tourists in the Maldives are virtually restricted to their resorts with very limited travel.

    • Mr Right

      Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      Thailand should begin to live without mass tourism with a small number of wealthy tourists up to 1 million a year.
      Mass tourism cancer thanks to the coronavirus that the sacred Thai land got rid of mass tourism

      • Angela Di Marcantonio

        Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:01 pm

        The lucid tourism only feed big resorts and companies. It doesn’t help the street economy, the fsmilie’s economy

    • Mike Frenchie

      Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 11:23 pm

      Bill is not going to stick his neck out and say – let’s reopen right now with a single week of smooth quarantine like the Head of the Minor group did!
      Anyway, the six trillion of THB currently “not being repaid/frozen” owned by diverse creditors (airlines, hotels, retail, tourism,…) to the Thai banks will force Thailand to reassess its options quickly to avoid a massive number of bankrupties… (banks would be wiped out if tourists are not returning before 2022). The best part is that no vaccine will work 100% (flu has never been eradicated) so Covid is now endemic as the top UK epidemiologist recently stated – we must learn to live with it…

    • EdwardV

      Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      John the fact there really isn’t a practical or realistic solution to Phuket and Samui economic problems. Hoping for a better answer than “nothing” is fine, but to expect one is a bit much. As for the Maldives, to be fair most tourist didn’t travel much outside of their resorts prior to Covid-19. The country as a whole doesn’t really offer much outside of the resorts so it’s not much of a restriction in practice. Zanzibar granted, but he could have easily name two to three dozen other countries to instead to make his point. It sure seems like Thailand is trying to figure out how to have tourism and live with the virus, they just are doing it in the typical Thai fashion of slowly, and in fits and spurts. There is no other explanation to the proposal to allow Chinese tourist to enter in Feb without a quarantine.

  3. Toby Andrews

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Mister Barnet made a wise statement. Tourism has to learn to live with the virus.
    The present Thai government will not allow this.
    If they will not accept the small risk of death form this virus, there may come a time when suicide will be a higher risk statistically than the virus risk.
    And this will be due to the unreasonable measures taken by the Thailand authorities to prevent infection of the virus.
    If Thailand will not live with the risk, other countries in the region will, and take the tourism, trade and investment that was once Thailand’s.

    • Mike Frenchie

      Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 8:47 pm

      Rich people in BKK running the country will not allow it… (they run the show). Expect changes when the six trillion THB (loaned by the banks and whose interests are frozen) will be close to be uncollectable.

  4. Richard

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    What totally bewilders me is why people like myself with a valid “o” visa and multi-entry permit are still prohibited from returning to Thailand. Us retirees are in our 10’s of thousands and do contribute considerably to supporting the economies of places like Samui and Phuket all year round, not just in high season. We, by nature of having of being older by-and-large have more disposable income than younger foreign work permit holders that are allowed to return. We also tend to bring in funds from outside and often have Thai dependents including common law wives and children that we support, not to mention ‘extended families’ up north. We also often employ a variety of locals. It seems very short sighted of Thai embassies under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to not recognise retirement extension visas issues by Thai Immigration. Absurd actually.

    • Angela Di Marcantonio

      Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      It’s exactly people like you, supporting families and small business, that this government doesn’t wish in the country. If kids of ‘poor’ people starts to go to pairs private schools, who will plant and harvest rice? They a large working class… not educated people who pretends

  5. Jack Sombra

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    The STV program is essentially dead. Less than 300 in a month. None planned for Nov (SG and nordic arrivals mysteriously vanished). Maybe just maybe the minister of health (Anutin) should not be trying to set Visa policy and his flunkys,TAT, should not be no trying to approve/disapprove people on an individual basis while trying to make 10000 per head themselves…

  6. Glenn

    Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    I note that prices to kho samui are higher than last year. Also, there are fewer flights on offer, many tour operators are offering flights with longer stopovers in Bangkok. Hardly a recipe to attract the tourists.

  7. Issan John

    Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    “John the fact (is) there really isn’t a practical or realistic solution to Phuket and Samui economic problems. Hoping for a better answer than “nothing” is fine, but to expect one is a bit much.”

    Agreed 100%, Ed V, 🙂 but my disappointment wasn’t so much that he’d failed to come up with any solution, which was only to be expected, but that at the start of the vid he’d expressed his own disappointment that the PM and cabinet’s visit hadn’t come up with any solutions.

    If he as “‘Mr Hotel & Hospitality’ for Thailand and the region”, and all the other Phuket hoteliers / hospitality experts, can’t come up with anything I can’t help thinking that it’s a bit unreasonable for him to expect those with no experience in the industry at all to come up with any solutions to help them out.

    • EdwardV

      Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      That’s because the only solution is to figure out a way to increase tourists safely. Something that is above Mr. Hotel’s pay grade, it has to come from the PM. Yes they probably lack the expertise, but it’s still their job. Not only has the government failed multiple times in their various attempts. They seem to have given up a real solution and will resort to zero dollar tourists in hopes that might work. Fact is Phuket and Samui live and die on tourism. They are similar to Hawaii in that regard and even though the Hawaiians have been trying to diversify since the 50s, they can’t overcome their inherent disadvantages. After all these years, tourism and the military still are the two largest portions of GDP, employers and everything else pales in comparison.

  8. Issan John

    Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    “Anyway, the six trillion of THB currently “not being repaid/frozen” owned by diverse creditors (airlines, hotels, retail, tourism,…) to the Thai banks …”

    “Expect changes when the six trillion THB (loaned by the banks and whose interests are frozen) will be close to be uncollectable.”

    Mike Frenchie, where did you get this figure of “six trillion THB”, etc, from?

    Did you pluck it out of thin air, or pull it out of your backside?

    There’s a government debt issuance of one trillion baht to finance income loss compensation; the BOT’s soft loans to SMEs for half a trillion; and a 400 billion Corporate Bond Stability Fund managed by the BOT to help the corporate bond market.
    But there’s NO “six trillion THB (loaned by the banks and whose interests are frozen)”.

    IT DOESN’T EXIST. 🙁

  9. Issan John

    Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    “Mister Barnet made a wise statement. Tourism has to learn to live with the virus.
    The present Thai government will not allow this.”

    Well, Toby, it’s not just “the present Thai government” but EVERY GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD that “will not allow this”. Even Sweden’s PM Stefan Lofvan doesn’t agree with this any more, which is why he said last week that “We are going in the wrong direction.”

    “If they will not accept the small risk of death form this virus, there may come a time when suicide will be a higher risk statistically than the virus risk.
    And this will be due to the unreasonable measures taken by the Thailand authorities to prevent infection of the virus.”

    The time has ALREADY come in Thailand, as the suicide rate’s up by some 25% (450 additional suicides this year), while so far there are ‘only’ 60 deaths from Covid – but your conclusion that this is “due to the unreasonable measures taken by the Thailand authorities to prevent infection of the virus” has no more rational justification than putting the suicides down to Thailand throwing you out at the same time the pandemic started.

    It’s not unreasonable to put the additional suicides down to the collapsing economy and spiralling unemployment, but that isn’t just down to Covid restrictions /closing the borders, and job losses caused there have to be offset by jobs saved elsewhere. Some 7 million have probably lost their jobs this year according to the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking made up of “an estimated 4.2 million retail and shopping mall workers, 1 million construction workers, 978,000 hotel workers, 250,000 restaurant workers, 200,000 spa and massage workers and 200,000 garment factory workers.” It’s a global recession, and there’s very little Thailand’s government or any other country’s can do about that – Thailand can’t make other countries buy their exports if they don’t want or need them.

    “If Thailand will not live with the risk, other countries in the region will, and take the tourism, trade and investment that was once Thailand’s.”

    WHAT “COUNTRIES IN THE REGION”?

    Indonesia and the Philippines are as badly off with Covid as the West so they’re out, Malaysia’s out culturally, so that only leaves Vietnam and Cambodia.
    However grateful you are to Cambodia for them letting you in after you were thrown out by Thailand, their PM makes Thailand’s look as benevolent as Gandhi, their level of corruption makes Thailand look like a group of ascetic monks, and their Covid / border restrictions are more draconian than Thailand’s with no sign of any change at all. …
    and Vietnam’s deputy PM, Vu Duc Dam, said only last week that “We will continue to deal with Covid as we are now” so they have no intention of ‘living with the risk’ even if there is a vaccine.

    …so WHAT “COUNTRIES IN THE REGION will live with the risk … and take the tourism, trade and investment that was once Thailand’s.”

    NAME THEM!! 🙂

    • Max

      Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      I totaly agree
      Just help me to understand why Malaysia is out culturall.

      THANKS

    • Toby Andrews

      Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      Cambodia.

  10. Nawin

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    So sad to see such lovely places going under. And all because of a thing which nobody anywhere has yet to prove it exists. What has happened to the world?

  11. Alan

    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Egypt has had 400000 tourists since July and zero new kung flu cases
    Draw your own conclusions as to why Thailand is being shut down possible for one more year

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      It’s actually been getting between 130 and 250 new cases a day since the end of July. Draw your own conclusions from that.

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