Connect with us


Thai Floods: Kudos and consequences for Phuket



PHUKET: While the floods laying siege to Bangkok have dominated national news and made headlines around the world for weeks, Phuket has remained safe and dry. And as such, the province has been, as it well should be, a major platform for flood relief for hundreds of thousands of victims throughout Thailand’s central plains.

Heartwarming initiatives continue underway in Phuket from many local organizations, public and private sector alike. It would be difficult for a resident foreigner not to notice that there is something quite special about the Thai propensity for mercy. Spontaneous and natural, it is evident in all walks of life.

But the flood images carried by news services have reaped not only mercy but also significant economic damage. Among the roughly two-thirds of the Thai provinces where there are no floods, Phuket, in particular, is under the gun, as demonstrated, for example, by the 15 teams pulling out of the big Beach Volleyball World Tour event at Karon Beach, the final games of which are played today.

Even though entrants contacted tournament director Geoffrey Rowe directly, he could not convince all of them that Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport was fully operational and that all connections from that airport to Phuket were (and are) running according to schedule.

The fact that Mr Rowe even needed to try to convince the players of this truth is what deserves particular attention. Mr Rowe was dealing with sophisticated players who travel the world, not an isolated family that rarely leaves home for a holiday.

This highlighted the truth that despite the much-touted efforts of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), many people around the world still think of Phuket as solely a component of “Destination Thailand”, and not as a stand-alone destination itself.

This flies in the face of years of positive promotion of “Brand Phuket” as a unique tourism destination, and the ongoing push to develop more direct flights to the island.

For Phuket, the challenge now lies not in carving out our own identity to stand apart from Bangkok – that has already been done. We are Phuket. But what the champions of Phuket have yet to achieve is to overcome the Bangkok-centricity that permeates our markets both in and outside of Thailand. That mentality is nourished daily by the central government and throughout the “national” media.

Well-travelled international athletes playing on a world tour didn’t know that Bangkok has two airports, one flooded and one not. They didn’t know that there is no flooding at all in Phuket or elsewhere in the south of Thailand. And they didn’t seem to know that Phuket International Airport is just that. Perhaps this speaks unfavorably about the competence of the nation’s government-dominated PR apparatus.

In their consequences, the far-away floods are reminiscent of the damage to this province during the political violence in Bangkok last year when more than 100,000 tourists cancelled their bookings to Phuket because of localized turmoil about 1,000 kilometers north of here.

Although tourist arrivals into Phuket for the first eight months of this year were running well ahead of the same period last year, and might even have been favorable for last month (October), one can only speculate on what October’s arrivals might have been had the world known that Phuket was (with the exception of some shopping shortages): a) not significantly affected by the floods, and b) easily accessible by air, both through Bangkok and directly.

Perhaps Thailand’s tourism marketing gurus will have taken note of this. But then perhaps they, too, are Bangkok-centric.


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:

What you get for $X1 hour ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand4 hours ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Sponsored11 hours ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Weather4 hours ago

Storm Noru weakens from typhoon to depression as it moves across Thailand

World4 hours ago

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan hits students preparing for exam

Politics5 hours ago

BREAKING: Prayut reinstated as Prime Minister of Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Technology5 hours ago

What role for Thailand in China’s great European EV invasion?

Cambodia5 hours ago

Cambodian delegation in UK to seach for stolen treasures

Thailand6 hours ago

20 baht notes printed with errors, says Bank of Thailand

Crime6 hours ago

Loan shark bombs debtor’s house in southern Thailand

Thailand7 hours ago

Thai researchers develop flood-resistant rice strain

Press Room7 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s hospitality leaders step into the ring to fight for sustainability at PHIST 5

Crime7 hours ago

Horrified relatives attempt ID of disfigured suitcase victim

Travel7 hours ago

Things to do in Bangkok that cost next to nothing (2022)

Travel8 hours ago

5 best spa treatments in Bangkok to pamper yourself this September – October

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