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Minister eases local concerns over Phuket tourism plan



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The Minister of Tourism and Sports has rushed to reassure Phuket locals who have voiced concern over a tentative plan (now postponed) to re-open the province to foreign visitors. Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn says there may have been some miscommunication, as he reassured Phuket residents that they would not be forced to accept any tourism plan.

The minister, along with a full ministerial entourage, visited the island over the weekend, on the directions of the Thai PM, to evaluate the mood of local communities on the re-opening of Phuket under the much-publicised “Phuket Model”.

He was speaking as officials met with business owners and tourism representatives in Phuket to discuss the future of tourism on the island. Various plans for re-opening have been put forward in recent weeks and then dropped again. Pipat spoke with business representatives in Patong, inviting them to share their views on foreign tourists being allowed to return under strict conditions, including Covid-19 testing and 14 days’ mandatory quarantine.

He says most people are comfortable with the idea, but a number of people have raised concerns, saying the government should focus on Thai tourists to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19. The country has just recorded its first locally-transmitted case in over 3 months, with a Bangkok DJ testing positive after being imprisoned for drug offences. However, it’s understood the man has no recent history of overseas travel.

A meeting of around 100 was held on Saturday at a Patong Beach Road restaurant involving local luminaries, officials and tourism operators. They voiced their fears for the future of local tourism, especially along the touristy-west coast of Phuket which has been severely affected by the impact of government lockdowns and border bans.

Phuket locals also shared their fears about the virus saying the government should put any foreign tourism plan to a local referendum to ensure it has majority support. They are also calling for a subsidy of 10,000 baht a month for local businesses, a moratorium on debt repayments for between 1 – 3 years, and the option of soft loans for 5 – 7 years.

The meetings also turned into a grab bag of random local causes. Residents also want work carried out on Patong Hospital, as well as a general upgrading of the Phuket’s healthcare system, to ensure it can cope with a resurgence of the virus. Other suggestions put forward were developments in education and city planning, free Wifi, and requests to extend the closing time of entertainment venues to 4am (a campaign that’s been going on for half a decade).

The official delegation from Bangkok also visited Phuket Town, Nai Harn, Chalong and Cherngtalay.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Eddie

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    OK, Thais dont want foreign tourists. Just let them suffer.

    • Robert Elliott

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Suffer? How?

    • Robert Elliott

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Why would they suffer?

      • Rinky Stingpiece

        Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 8:18 pm

        no jobs, no income from businesses, insolvency, poverty, all those kinds of obvious things Robert…

  2. Alex

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Ting Tong!

  3. Toby Andrews

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    The government should give them economic advice.
    They should send lecturers and teachers to Phuket, and hold classes with lessons such as.
    Getting the best price for your secondhand motor bike.
    The joys and health benefits of walking.
    Growing your own food in window boxes.
    Cat meat can be tasty if prepared the right way.
    Extending the life of your flip flops by resoling.
    Net fishing on the high seas at three in the morning can be fun.
    Start a new life by emigrating to North Korea.
    This will enable them to survive the year to come of no tourists, and no investments

  4. Sami

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Where is our smart ass Steve??? With his smarter resposnes…..

  5. staffan anderstig

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Well i thought they like foreign tourist they always smile.

  6. John Smith

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t think the tourists were that keen on the plan to start with, but it could be an opening for the most determined returnees to get back to Thailand. It seems to me though they want to have their cake and eat it. No tourists, but well we need help from the Government. I wonder how long it will last.

    • Germany

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:07 am

      There are areas in Thailand (such as Phuket) that live in a brutal housing and hotel bubble. These prices must be lowered, which are sometimes higher than those in Europe, it is crazy, a return to reality will be good for everyone and for the country

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