Connect with us

Thai Life

On Deck: Stewards of the future

Legacy Phuket Gazette




PHUKET: Phuket’s low season, in my opinion, is the best time to be on the island. Sure there’s rain – and lots of it – but it’s warm, and in between the rainstorms there are some glorious days only the tropics can deliver.

It’s also a great time to go sailing. The odd shower won’t put off any serious sailor and the upside is the beauty and relative peace and quiet at even the most popular anchorages.

During the high season, nearby islands are at over-capacity. If anyone actually undertook a study of each island’s carrying capacity, it would surely show that they are flat-lining. Come low season, the story is different.

While there has been much talk by marine and tourism bodies in Phuket of the need to protect the natural sea resources, much of it has been just that – talk.

But a round of applause is due for the recent marking off of areas fronting the beaches of some of Phuket’s most pressured islands, to stop boats getting too close and damaging the coral and ecology.
In the never-ending desire for money, money, money, that Phuket’s offshore islands are environmentally plundered and ecologically raped during the high season.

Having pulled together sources of boat departure information last high season, my estimates are that on any given day there are up to 50,000 day trip tourists out in Phang Nga Bay and the surrounding area.

These are predominantly day-trip speedboat tours, shifting up to 50 people at a time to nearby hot spots. Add to that other on-water activities – sea canoes, diving, charter boats, private boat use – and the number only goes up. But it’s these day trip tourists who inflict the most pressure in popular spots.

Recent government efforts are welcomed, but more is needed.

Relevant government departments could learn from other mass tourism destinations around the world. Look toward Europe and the Greek Islands such as Crete. With it’s Patongesque party spots, Crete is also blessed with stunning natural assets – beaches, coves, coral and nearby islands. Having been a hot tourist destination for European holiday makers since the 1970s, Crete welcomes about three million tourists per year – approximately half of Phuket’s international arrivals – and yet retains it’s natural charm.

On the whole, it manages to delicately balance caring for the environment while catering to the needs and pressures of tourism.

Phuket should, ideally, not be looking to a model of preservation. To close off and protect all marine sensitive and tourist-popular sites is not realistic. What is needed is a long-term conservation plan, whereby access to sites is rotated in an ecologically sound way, while accepting the need for the tourism business to continue. A balancing act where both sides are of equal importance.

As far as the future of the tourism business is concerned, it cannot continue in its current form. For conservation efforts to work, the private and public sectors have to work together, and corruption must be stamped out. Recent action by Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat highlighted the massive corruption at Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, and subsequent clamp-downs need to extend to other highly pressured areas and become the norm.

While enjoying the stunning natural wonders Phuket has to offer, we should all focus on leaving the environment in a better place than how we found it so that future generations can enjoy it as much as we have.

As an Inuit saying goes, “We do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we borrow it from our children”.

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications ( consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal #OnDeckPhuket

— Duncan Worthington


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics2 hours ago

Cambodian PM plans a visit to Myanmar to smooth divisions in ASEAN

Transport2 hours ago

A bird strike may have caused Royal Thai Air Force F-5 fighter jet’s recent crashing

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Alcohol situation in Pattaya, Thailand Omicron update | Dec 6

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

First Omicron strain reported in Thailand, Test & Go traveller tests positive

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: Still no Omicron, today’s infections drop to 4,000

Crime3 hours ago

Phuket police arrest 32 after more than 3,500 venue raids since November

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Video4 hours ago

Dealign with omicron, Opening the southern border, pen15 park | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.146

Politics4 hours ago

US Republican Party senator Bob Dole passes away at 98

Coronavirus Vaccines4 hours ago

Thailand’s Health Ministry misses Covid-19 vaccination target

Tourism4 hours ago

Germany removes Thailand from its list of high-risk countries

Indonesia4 hours ago

Death toll rises to 14 in volcanic eruption in Indonesia

North East5 hours ago

Police deny detaining or threatening woman who told PM to “retire quickly”

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

CCSA meets today to decide on southern border re-opening

World17 hours ago

Foreign Ministers of China and Malaysia agree over South China Sea

Bangkok18 hours ago

Burmese woman rescued by DSI after 13 years of forced labour

Coronavirus World5 days ago

Health officials say Omicron probably in the Netherlands prior to South Africa reports

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 days ago

PM will decide on need for lockdown if and when Omicron found in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 days ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says PCR tests will remain a requirement for foreign arrivals

Thailand7 days ago

Thailand News Today | Quarantine requirements in Thailand relaxed, Vocal expat deported | Nov 29

Tourism6 days ago

No plans to reverse re-opening, despite Omicron variant – Tourism Ministry

Drugs5 days ago

Men arrested at Bangkok airport for allegedly smuggling drugs valued at 95 million baht

Visa3 days ago

10-year long term visa scheme takes a step forward, measures approved by PM

Thailand5 days ago

Possible lockdown, Crypto in Thailand, Transit system improvements | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.143

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 days ago

Thailand entry restrictions on African countries in response to Omicron

Bangkok6 days ago

Foreigner claims Bangkok taxi pocketed 1,000 baht for ride down Sukhumvit

Expats4 days ago

Bangkok is 4th best place to live in Southeast Asia, according to expat survey

Tourism5 days ago

Cha-am permitted to sell alcohol in restaurants from December 1

Tourism6 days ago

Tourism officials welcome Czech movie filming in Phuket and Krabi

Thailand6 days ago

More venues in Thailand require proof of vaccination, or ATK test, at the door

Thailand7 days ago

“Sandbox” stay shortened to 5 days for vaccinated travellers from overseas

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

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

Phuket9 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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