Connect with us

Opinion

PHUKET OPINION: Why not support a bit of heart for unlucky tourists?

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The plan by the Phuket Tourist Police to build a shelter for foreign tourists who fall on hard times is laudable and long overdue, as evidenced by the number of hard luck cases whose travails have been chronicled in the Phuket Gazette for many years.

Exact details of the plan have yet to be revealed, but Ekachai Pramanakul, chief of the Tourist Police office in Phuket Town, says the shelter will provide temporary refuge for ‘qualified’ foreign tourists who would otherwise have to go without. (See story, current issue of the Gazette. Digital subscribers click here to download the full newspaper.)

It would be difficult to view this initiative as anything other than commendable in spirit, and thanks are due to Haad Thip for providing the funding.

The sight of unwashed vagrants panhandling, lying drunk or being stepped over as they lay unconscious on beaches and sidewalks around the island is depressing to all but the most callous of souls.

Despite the best efforts of the staff at the Mitr Maitree homeless shelter in Rassada, the harsh reality is that the homeless problem in Phuket continues to worsen. And strangely, Mitr Maitree under its charter can only accept Thais – not foreigners.

Allowing well-intentioned guests in Phuket to fall into a state of vagrancy through no fault of their own is reminiscent of the carnage on display in tourist places such as Goa, Miami, the Ibiza of the 1970s, and, most uncharacteristically, Thailand’s own Koh Phang-ngan after a full moon party. Such tableaux do not enhance tourism of the type quality destinations seek and are inconsistent with Thailand’s general image as a place of exceptional hospitality.

Homelessness of course comes in many forms and develops for a wide variety of reasons. There are even people who opt for the simulated freedom of vagrancy, chosing to become ‘urban hunter-gatherers’ rather than trying to keep up with the rat race of more conventional lifestyles.

But professional vagrants are unlikely to qualify for residence at the new Tourist Police lodgings.

Lt Col Ekachai says the facility will be earmarked for ‘good’ foreign tourists whose misfortunes are not self-inflicted, such as victims of crimes, scams, greedy temptresses, accidents or certain medical conditions.

There will be no room for ‘bad’ tourists. They will continue to dwell in less hospitable digs provided by other divisions of the police.

Tourist arrivals to Phuket continue to grow, with 3.5 million passing through Immigration at the airport last year, higher than ever before.

The island’s complement of 16 honorary consuls do their best with the thankless task of helping compatriots who get into trouble here, but many are already at the breaking point – and the number of cases continues to rise.

Properly run, the completed shelter should help to validate the Tourist Police motto: “Your First Friend”. We hope so, and see no reason why this initiative should not be given a chance.

 

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics51 mins ago

China backs Thailand to make APEC a success

Politics2 hours ago

Gen-Z students oppose an unelected senate 17 to 1

Thailand2 hours ago

Foreigner allegedly using dogs to scam Chiang Mai locals

Sponsored5 hours ago

International money transfers made fast, secure and transparent with DeeMoney Neo App

Cannabis News2 hours ago

Tourist breaks Singaporean law by consuming cannabis in Thailand

Northern Thailand2 hours ago

Large, endangered Indochinamon Bhumibol crab spotted

Thailand3 hours ago

Foreigner caught stealing luggage at Bangkok airport

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Philippines3 hours ago

Tropical Storm Noru hits the Philippines, 5 rescue workers killed

Travel4 hours ago

Thai drinks you must try while in Thailand

Thailand4 hours ago

Passengers stranded after airport train breaks down

Cannabis News4 hours ago

Prices plummet on cannabis, farmers ask for regulation

Weather4 hours ago

Heavy rain warning in 48 provinces of Thailand

Politics5 hours ago

Unlikely Biden will make APEC meeting in Thailand

Press Room5 hours ago

The Asia Fitness Conference 2022: A must-attend event for fitness enthusiasts and professionals

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai Airways releases details of winter flights itinerary

Thailand6 hours ago

Tourist Attractions To Open For Longer Hours | GMT

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