Phuket’s inadequate infrastructure development raises concerns

Image courtesy of PR Phuket

Inadequate infrastructure development in Phuket is struggling to match the island’s rapid urbanisation and severe flooding, tarnishing its reputation. The government’s failure to allocate sufficient budget and upgrade public facilities as promised is a significant concern.

The President of the Phuket Tourist Association, Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, highlighted that 60% of tourists are first-time visitors who might not return if infrastructure issues cause inconvenience.

The immense downpour over the past weekend led to severe flooding in many areas, obstructing the main road in Thep Krasattri, and causing certain flights to be redirected to nearby provinces. Despite the flooding, there were no reports of hotel cancellations or stranded tourists, as most hotels are situated near the beach and outside the most affected zones.

The new town planning and environmental laws could permit property construction at elevations exceeding 140 metres above sea level, which poses a significant concern for Thaneth, who warned that such projects could obstruct the natural drainage system, exacerbating landslides during heavy rains. Local officials are urged to carefully evaluate these potential impacts before approving further developments.

Phuket was allocated an annual budget of 170 million baht, which Thaneth considers insufficient given the large number of residents, including locals, foreign workers, and tourists, alongside the rapid urbanisation.

Compared to top tourism destinations like Bangkok and Pattaya, which receive annual budgets of over a billion baht, Phuket’s allocation is minimal. Thaneth mentioned that water management and drainage systems alone require at least a billion baht.

Large projects have stagnated despite multiple visits from the Thai prime minister since last year. These projects include the Patong Tunnel, a second main road, a new motorway, and a public train system. Thaneth stresses the importance of public infrastructure in establishing a long-lasting positive impression among tourists.

“Public infrastructure for tourists such as airports and roads are their first impression of a place. Ensuring convenient travel is crucial for long-term competitiveness.”

The province is expected to fully recover this year, generating more than 400 billion baht in tourism revenue, thanks to increased tourism expenditure and longer stays. Russia, China, and India continue to be the top three source markets for Phuket, reported Bangkok Post.

Environment NewsPhuket NewsTourism News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

Related Articles