Connect with us

Opinion

OPINION: In defense of Phuket tourism

Published

 on 

PHUKET: There is widespread support in Phuket for Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop’s idea to fit all taxis and tuk-tuks on the island with meters.

It is not possible to quantify the economic damage the tourism industry in Phuket has suffered from the notorious patchwork of transport syndicates that continue to operate in defiance of the law, colluding to keep passenger fares the highest in the country.

In the case of the infamous tuk-tuks serving our West Coast beach communities, the focal points of Phuket tourism, we offer some of the most expensive taxi rides in the world, well above such places as New York, London, Zurich, Hawaii, Nice, Sydney, etc.

This situation has unnecessarily held back a tourism industry that in most other aspects operates under free-market conditions.

While problems with the ‘services’ provided by tuk-tuks in the major tourist centers of Patong, Kata and Karon are well documented, another important factor driving up transport costs and creating friction among rival groups is the way taxi concessions are allotted at Phuket International Airport (PIA).

At a recent meeting there, Gov Wichai and Senator Thanyarat Achariyachai criticized the management of Airports of Thailand (AoT), which runs PIA, for the way it has dealt with taxi, limousine and minivan concessions. The pair said the company’s profit margins seemed to be their only concern, not the Phuket tourism industry or the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it to make a living.

Under the urging of the provincial government, the AoT gradually broke the monopoly held for years by the Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Cooperative. This was achieved by allowing metered taxis, an airport bus, and finally rival taxi operator Phuket Mai Khao Sakoo to operate on airport grounds.

But the increased competition hasn’t translated into lower costs for most passengers because the AoT continues to charge excessive fees to all who operate out of the airport, or at least those who do so legally. That an estimated 200 ‘black plate’ taxis are also shuttling passengers to and from the airport gives some indication of just how excessive the fees are.

As mentioned in this space a few weeks ago, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is currently promoting the country as a value-for-money tourist destination under the increasingly dubious catchphrase ‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’.

Unfortunately, problems in Phuket’s public transport sector drive up prices across the board, making the province less competitive than it should be and driving tourists, both foreign and domestic, to rival destinations, most notably Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bali.

Governor Wichai has reportedly asked the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to allow him to work past the mandatory retirement age of 60, which he will reach next month. We hope the MoI will seriously consider the request, as Mr Wichai may be the island’s only hope for giving tourists the kind of safe, reasonably priced transport options they have every right to expect.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand10 mins ago

3 men were arrested for stealing Thai Internet connection & World Cup betting in Cambodia

Pattaya15 mins ago

Intoxicated Pattaya woman left uninjured after overturning car

Crime55 mins ago

Woman who allegedly scammed victims for over 30 million baht arrested in Pattaya

Sponsored2 hours ago

Krungthong Plaza offers endless choices of well-selected plus-size fashion products

Bangkok1 hour ago

Bangkok BTS Skytrain fares to increase next year

Thailand1 hour ago

Police put brakes on car rental thief in Bangkok

World2 hours ago

New drug marks major milestone in slowing Alzhemier’s

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
World Cup2 hours ago

400 to 500 migrant workers in Qatar died due to World Cup, not 6,500

Visa3 hours ago

Thailand advises Indians to obtain visa prior to travelling to avoid long queues

Thailand3 hours ago

Driver furious with Bangkok shopping mall after foreigner accidently causes damage to her car

Politics3 hours ago

Iran promises Thailand it won’t attack Israeli tourists

Crime4 hours ago

Korean woman arrested for 5 million baht theft, 6-year overstay

Tourism4 hours ago

Japan is the No.1 tourist destination among Thais

Cambodia4 hours ago

10,000 Angkor Wat residents facing mass eviction

Thailand5 hours ago

Parents seek justice after 4 year old child dies after mysterious fall at school

Bangkok5 hours ago

Popcorn promotion: people capitalise on all you can eat

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending