Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket People: Chanchai Doungjit

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: As the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office in Phuket, Chanchai Doungjit needs no introduction. In a province where tourism is the main livelihood for most of the population and the industry’s marketing needs to be robust, the director is always in the media.

Just before our interview, Chanchai had been in a weekly meeting with the governor. “It’s just a routine meeting,” he says. “The governor likes to keep us abreast of what’s happening each week. He just got back from Turkey, and believes that country has potential to become our next tourist market.”

Considered one of the pu yais (high-ranking officials) here, Chanchai is delightfully affable and down-to-earth. His easygoing manner belies his seniority and long experience with the TAT, both nationally and internationally.

Chanchai belongs to the generation of Thais who looked to the civil service as an ultimate career path. “My friends and I had this romantic idea of becoming a nai amphoe (district officer) in some provincial backwater,” he laughs. But after a degree in political science and a few years working as a government researcher at Thammasart University, he was “itching” for some action. The opportunity came when he joined the TAT in Bangkok and was soon promoted to a posting in Kuala Lumpur.

“At that time, Malaysians were our top tourists,” he says. “They drove in via Haad Yai in Songkhla Province. We have good roads so it was easy to promote tourism then. The problem was the Thais’ way of driving, which managed to shock our law-abiding neighbors no end!”

After Malaysia, Chanchai was posted to the eastern province of Rayong, where he remained for seven years. His moment came when he was transferred to Los Angeles. As the TAT director there, his job’s remit was vast, covering not only the US west coast but also all the countries in South America. The work, he says, was long and arduous, but fun-filled at the same time.

“For one thing, there were fewer meetings compared to back home,” he jokes. “No, seriously it was a great experience. You could see the result as the number of American tourists increased year by year. Long live ‘Amazing Thailand’, he jokes.

In Los Angeles, Chanchai and his family (he is married, with a son) never felt homesick. “The Thais consider LA another province of Thailand; there were about 200,000 Thais living there alone, and that is from the census data only. And where there are Thais, there is always food and parties.”

After LA, Chanchai’s career took him straight to Phuket in mid-2012. He remembers his first impression here. “I was naive to think that Phuket was just another Thai province with perhaps a few more tourists than the rest. How wrong I was. I was stunned – I have never seen so many tourists in any one place!”

“In a way I am happy for people working in the tourist sector here. But I do worry about Phuket’s infrastructure, which is stretched to the limit.”

He continues: “Nowadays, the debate seems to be about which direction Phuket is going in terms of its tourism drive. For the time being, it all seems to be about leisure and quantity, but we may soon have to change our ways and look to other avenues instead. Tapping into sectors such as golf, weddings and honeymooners, as well as marinas and yachting, may provide the way forward.”

As the TAT boss, where does Chanchai go for his tee-ow (travel)?

“Thailand, of course! I love taking a long drive through the country – with no definite plan, stopping the night when the fancy takes me. That’s my kind of tee-ow.”

The individuals profiled in “Thai Gallery” are chosen on the basis of their contributions to Phuket as an international community, and, often, for having made those contributions through successful social and/or working relationships with foreigners. This implies some foreign language skills and an interest in interacting with different cultures. They are people who in our experience help make the lives of expats far more enjoyable here than might be the case without them.

— Nanthapa Pengkasem

 

Get more from The Thaiger

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

image

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand News Today | 29 provinces now on curfew, booze ban in Phuket

Insurgency2 hours ago

Volunteer ranger killed in grenade attack by suspected insurgents

Best of2 hours ago

Top 5 Spas in Koh Samui

Welcome back to Thailand!

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

Thailand2 hours ago

Hemp ice cream hits the Thai market

Chon Buri3 hours ago

Chon Buri sets local order, restaurants in malls to only offer food for delivery

Thailand3 hours ago

Samut Prakan man dies in fire, possibly self-inflicted

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Royal Thai Police say bitterleaf can’t cure Covid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 18,901 new cases, provincial totals

Thailand4 hours ago

Air Asia technician arrested for allegedly stealing electronics

Pattaya5 hours ago

“Pattaya Move On” reopening likely to be postponed as Covid cases surge

Thailand5 hours ago

3 metre long python caught near family’s house in Phuket

Thailand6 hours ago

Government says not to buy Favipiravir/Avigan online, says it might be fake

Phuket6 hours ago

Phuket bans alcohol sales at restaurants, issues order amid rise of Covid cases

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Mexican restaurants in Pattaya

Thailand7 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | New restrictions, new Red Line train in Bangkok, Covid latest

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Trending