Connect with us


Foreign minister meets with Phuket-based diplomats to discuss the island’s future

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Dive Magazine

The Thai Foreign Minister and Deputy PM, Don Pramudwinai, has met with a group of European and Asian diplomats based in Phuket to discuss the future of the southern island province. Attendees came together to talk about economic stimulus measures that could help Phuket, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 travel restrictions and the closure of Thailand’s borders.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Don has expressed optimism that the tourism sector would bounce back once the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control. However, he says the province must also look at becoming more than just a holiday destination. The minister believes the province could potentially become a global centre for conferences and watersports, but currently lacks the necessary infrastructure.

“All consuls have shared a similar point of view that Phuket has the potential to make (the global centre idea) happen. But it cannot be done without a network of infrastructure such as a local transport system and water supply. They also want the government to get rid of the mafia problem in the country.”

(The ‘mafia’ problem to which the FM alludes is mostly related to the island’s taxi and tuk tuk mafia who run an extortion racket and cabal keeping a tight control over who drives taxis and tuk tubs and the overpriced fares. Several ministers, Governors and police chiefs have tried to get some sort of control over the key, and well known, mafiosos, and ended up being run off the island, sometimes under a cloud and with threats to their lives.)

He adds that instead of Phuket focusing on how many tourists it could attract, the emphasis should shift to quality over quantity. The government is currently limiting numbers for its Special Tourist Visa scheme, only admitting up to 1,200 tourists a month, from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19. And, although the first group of STV tourists arrived from China two weeks ago, a domestic tourism marketing campaign being run in China means fewer of them are applying to come to Thailand.

Tanee Sangrat from the Foreign Affairs Ministry acknowledges numbers are lower than expected and says officials are in talks on how best to attract more tourists.

“We have been aware of the issue and we are working with a related agency to provide more lucrative packages to tourists for when the Covid-19 situation improves. We do hope to get more tourists from Scandinavia joining our visa scheme if the countries have few infection cases.”

Bill Barnett addresses Phuket and Samui’s particular tourism challenges.

Last year, Thailand welcomed around 40 million tourists, with around 15 million holidaying in Phuket. Now the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Thailand’s borders has led to deserted streets and shuttered businesses in former tourist hotspots like Patong, Kata and Karon. Although grateful that domestic tourism is being encouraged, one local shopkeeper says it simply isn’t enough.

“It is a good policy to encourage local travel, but it can’t compare with income from foreign tourists. We don’t think the tourism industry will resume any time soon because outbreaks can still be found in Europe.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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.

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,667 new infections and 32 deaths

Politics2 hours ago

Thamanat elected to role of head ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat party

Expats11 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Thailand17 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs17 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand18 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport18 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of18 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism19 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of19 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand19 hours ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8