Connect with us


Dutch diplomat warns of Phuket tourism “landslide’



PHUKET: Critical issues affecting Phuket tourism must be contained, or else the industry could “slide out of control”, the Dutch Ambassador to Thailand warned yesterday.

On his first official visit to Phuket, Ambassador Joan Boer asked Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha what he intended to do about the problems, specifically naming jet-ski rip-off scams and unscrupulous tuk-tuk drivers as the key culprits.

Likening the potential effect on tourism to a landslide, Amb Boer said, “Everything starts moving very slowly, but soon you have critical mass and things start moving out of control. And that’s what we have at the moment

“Just look at the number of complaints about jet-skis and the very unfortunate event two weeks ago when two boys got into big problems over 1,000 baht. That’s not good for us and not good for Phuket,” he said.

Amb Boer pointed out that Spain and Greece had suffered similar problems.

“That’s why they lost 30-40% of their tourists,” he said.

“In tourism, if there is no security and no predictability – then cheap prices will not help you at the end of the day,” he added.

Gov Tri told Amb Boer the biggest barrier to resolving such problems were entrenched local political figures with powerful “support bases”.

“We have our consuls’ meeting once every three months and tuk-tuks are one of the most pressing issues that need to be resolved. This has been an issue in Phuket for a long time. We cannot fix this problem in one step; it needs to be done little by little,” he said.

“We have to accept that the problem involves people who are supporters of a local [“influential person”], so when we order them to do something to solve the problem, it doesn’t go very well – that’s why we have to do it step by step,” added the governor.

But some progress has been made, said Gov Tri, explaining that many jet-ski operators were being brought into the system, and hence under regulation.

Steps are also being taken to address other issues, he added.

“Parking is another problem. Some local people [in Patong] do not allow tourists to park in public parking spaces. If any tourists park in their areas, they damage the vehicles,” he said.

“But now we are solving the problem. We are finding areas for tourists to park. I have talked to the police and they are taking steps to resolve this issue,” Gov Tri said.

In gaining what he called “co-operation” from local people, Governor Tri made plain that his powers went beyond canceling locally-issued licenses.

“If the police cannot do anything to resolve either of these two issues [jet-skis and tuk-tuk drivers], I have the authority to contact the central government in Bangkok to request help.

“Bangkok can send people with the power to do something about the problems, even call in the military,” Gov Tri said.

Amb Boer appreciated Gov Tri’s sentiment, offering to act at the diplomatic level on any advice provided.

“I would be very happy to ask questions that come from the consular meetings – which we think are a very good idea – to the central government as well,” he said.

“Problems that play here may play out at another level,” Amb Boer added.

— Chutharat Plerin


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:

Crime2 hours ago

Fans stage simulation of Tangmo’s death in protest of law activist’s defamation case

Thailand2 hours ago

Thai road sweepers get safer new uniform for work

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Police patrol Pattaya Beach looking for guns, booze, prostitutes

Sponsored11 hours ago

Starting a business and obtaining SMART Visa in Thailand is easy with Startup Booster

Phuket3 hours ago

4 Chinese fishermen lost at sea rescued near Phuket

Pattaya3 hours ago

Two lost children found on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Guides3 hours ago

5 underrated apps you need to use in Thailand this year

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket3 hours ago

Cheeky Taoist procession spices up Phuket’s veggie fest

World3 hours ago

Avalanche strikes mountaineering team in Indian Himalayas, 4 killed

Cannabis4 hours ago

Can foreigners legally grow cannabis in Thailand?

Tourism4 hours ago

1-billion-baht tourism stimulus back on track

Thailand4 hours ago

Ordination ceremony concert goes on despite flood

Hot News4 hours ago

Flooding may impact Thailand’s tourism recovery

Road deaths5 hours ago

Young woman killed in hit-and-run in Chon Buri

Hot News5 hours ago

Myanmar youth artists hold art challenge to raise awareness of country’s plight

Entertainment5 hours ago

“One For the Road” film is Thailand’s 25th Oscar attempt

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