Phuket Gazette

Tommy Serban, 35, is the senior product manager of TUI Nordic, a tour operator in Scandinavia. He is originally from Copenhagen and has a master’s degree in business management. Mr Serban lived in Phuket from 2007 to 2010 and has been working with TUI Nordic for 14 years.

Here, he discusses Nordic tourists' concerns about Phuket, the current state of Phuket’s tourism industry and what problems need to be fixed in order to bring quality tourists back to the island.


PHUKET: We have been working in Thailand for 28 years, and from the very beginning we put a lot of focus on Phuket, mainly the Kata-Karon area.

I can tell you that this region is struggling. Our own business in Phuket is down 25 per cent overall, compared with last year’s sales.

This could be because the baht is more expensive now, but I believe that there are other, bigger problems behind this drop in visitors, such as the sun loungers being removed from the beaches, slow airport and immigration services, and traffic on the island.

The reputation of Phuket has also been damaged by negative media coverage in Nordic countries reporting on recent problems the island has faced.

All of these issues have caused a decrease in the volume of customers choosing Phuket. When people stop choosing Phuket, other potential customers will notice and will choose to go somewhere else as well.

One of the biggest issues is the removal of the sun loungers. This is a service our customers want and always ask for. They do miss the sun loungers.

I agree that the beaches look more beautiful without the chairs. Before, there were too many – it was out of control. It was good that the government came in to clean things up. However, they went too far.

The government needs to find a way to please tourists, especially the loyal ones who return every year.

These return customers are often over 50 years old and stay for two or three weeks at a time. They need the convenience of a sun lounger and an umbrella when they are out in 35-degree heat on the beach all day.

This can be done in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and also allows these tourists their comforts.
The government can invest in proper sun loungers that look nice, and can rent them out to vendors who wish to use them for business.

Another issue that is hurting business is the airport. Immigration is extremely slow, inefficient and unorganized. It is positive that it’s now being expanded and further developed, as quality tourists expect quality service.

Right now, quality tourists have to stand in a long queue, and when they finally get out of the airport they drive out onto roads with terrible traffic.

It comes down to this: people are now starting to ask themselves whether or not they want to come back to Phuket for their next holiday, or if they want to go somewhere else. If repeat customers continue to have holidays jeopardized by their recent experiences here, it will make for a very challenging future for Phuket.

We need to address these issues and work together to fix them. We must listen to the tourists, as they spend a lot of money here, which then goes back into the local community.

The Nordic market, especially our customers, have been very loyal to this destination. We all have good times and bad times, but we’ve always wanted to come back here.

This is a fantastic destination with beautiful beaches, nice people and good food. People like coming back to Thailand. It won’t take much effort to make positive changes here that can go a long way to improve Phuket.

Once these problems are fixed, Phuket can go from good to excellent again.

This article first appeared in the July 4-10 issue of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper.

Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.

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— Chutharat Plerin

1

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike July 8, 2015 09:27:29AM

Reply

63    8

2

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter July 8, 2015 10:03:43AM

Reply

42    22

3

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi July 8, 2015 10:19:03AM

Reply

36    56

4

Great Article. I have many friends in the pensioner age from Europe who can afford 5-star resorts and who used to come regularly to Phuket. They told me they won't come again till the beach chairs and umbrellas are back. Don't expect them to lie in the sand on a towel. To have a good holiday, it is necessary to provide them with proper, clean beach facilities like beach chairs, umbrellas, food/drinks, clean toilets, Life Guards, etc. If tourists don't get what they expect, they will elsewhere to get it. Many options.

Posted by Tourist needs July 8, 2015 10:26:01AM

Reply

69    29

5

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

"They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only." This is obvious, but hey – they're gonna love the island's new dolphinarium. And who knows... with a bit of luck we'll be seeing some more venues for shark's fin soup!

Posted by Forecaster July 8, 2015 10:47:44AM

Reply

51    36

6

Thanks to Mr Serban for such a level-headed, truthful and constructive assessment of where Phuket stands on the world tourism map today. Views formed and expressed in this way have a chance of being heard and taken seriously by those who call the shots here. He's a great ambassador for his company, for Denmark, and, in the end, for Phuket itself.

Posted by Art Anderson July 8, 2015 11:03:12AM

Reply

48    32

7

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford July 8, 2015 11:11:13AM

Reply

11    10

8

Don't worry, it's all in hand. New flyovers and underpasses will solve all the island's traffic issues. Pay just 100 baht at the airport for fast track clearance through immigration. Oh, and sunbeds? They never went away at all, did they?

Posted by agogohome July 8, 2015 11:47:51AM

Reply

31    22

9

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

The beach loving tourists are greatly out numbered by the beach people wanting the chairs. Have you been watching or hiding somewhere in the hills?

Posted by mr richie July 8, 2015 06:01:54PM

Reply

14    3

10

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

The beach loving tourists are greatly out numbered by the beach people wanting the chairs. Have you been watching or hiding somewhere in the hills?

Posted by mr richie

Mike has written nothing that could lead one to think he might be hiding in the hills; it's you who has done that. Please note that Mike has expressed no opinion with regard to beach chairs. You might also wish to read the story again so that you can grasp the context of all of the comments here.

Posted by Dennis Coburn July 8, 2015 06:20:42PM

Reply

9    12

11

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER July 8, 2015 09:19:49PM

Reply

2    0

12

For the most part, I agree with Mr Serban's comments but to suggest people are staying away because of the sunbed issue is frankly ridiculous. Maybe HIS customer base is affected, but the majority of people I have spoken to are fully in favour of the current situation. A Govt's job is to GOVERN, not to worry about policing sunbeds. Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach.

Posted by Mister Ree July 8, 2015 10:50:01PM

Reply

2    7

13

"They need the convenience of a sun lounger and an umbrella when they are out in 35-degree heat on the beach all day." A bit of an oxymoron! Here's an idea – cut down on the time sat at the beach if one is going to sit in the shade. Kamala has managed fine this season with a hugely reduced number of sunbeds, and the beach has been a far pleasanter place for the lack of them.

Posted by Mister Ree July 8, 2015 10:55:11PM

Reply

0    3

14

80% of all types of tourists in the past spent their holidays on the beach and that's a fact after leaving here for the past 28 years. With the present sunlounger and food ban big numbers of tourists will choose other destinations. Now the big question is, what other attractions Phuket has to offer for tourists? Is it the traffic chaos, immigration hassle, rip off transport cardels or the huge environment issues? [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Supermax July 8, 2015 11:24:27PM

Reply

9    1

15

Nice article. I would like to suggest Clean public toilets along the beaches ..24 hour baht buses .removal of all jet-skis and a railway link from Bangkok to Phang-Nga would all help as well.

Posted by rick o shay July 9, 2015 03:44:32AM

Reply

4    0

16

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie. July 9, 2015 08:19:17AM

Reply

9    1

17

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER

Popular 'wisdom' is not always fact. Many folks see what they want to see, regardless of the numbers. So if for you it's uncomfortable to note that the number of inbound French is rising, then you might not note it. Or maybe your perception of diminished absolute numbers of European tourists is influenced by the landslide in the farang/Asian RATIO - only.

Posted by Dan Sherman July 9, 2015 09:44:34AM

Reply

0    4

18

For the most part, I agree with Mr Serban's comments but to suggest people are staying away because of the sunbed issue is frankly ridiculous. Maybe HIS customer base is affected, but the majority of people I have spoken to are fully in favour of the current situation. A Govt's job is to GOVERN, not to worry about policing sunbeds. Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach.

Posted by Mister Ree

"Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach." Correct – I GUARANTEE it.

Posted by Somchai July 9, 2015 09:50:34AM

Reply

4    3

19

80% of all types of tourists in the past spent their holidays on the beach and that's a fact after leaving here for the past 28 years. With the present sunlounger and food ban big numbers of tourists will choose other destinations. Now the big question is, what other attractions Phuket has to offer for tourists? Is it the traffic chaos, immigration hassle, rip off transport cardels or the huge environment issues? [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Supermax

You've been "leaving here" for 28 years? :)) Lots of the long term expats here been doing that, and declaring it in their (boring) comments on this website. 'That's it; I'm outta here. Goin' to Vietnam'. Lol

Posted by Charlie (Still here) July 9, 2015 10:00:37AM

Reply

2    0

20

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER

Popular 'wisdom' is not always fact. Many folks see what they want to see, regardless of the numbers. So if for you it's uncomfortable to note that the number of inbound French is rising, then you might not note it. Or maybe your perception of diminished absolute numbers of European tourists is influenced by the landslide in the farang/Asian RATIO - only.

Posted by Dan Sherman

What is fact is that I have been living and doing business here for 25 years and so I am in a position to notice things. And then along comes an article from Tommy Serban to confirm what I and most expats on the island are saying. As for the French, they are very welcome; there is no need to use them in your argument.

Posted by peter July 9, 2015 10:59:22AM

Reply

6    0

21

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi July 10, 2015 10:06:33AM

Reply

0    0

22

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi

But just imagine..... one of those ladies might even join you if you were on a bed instead of wallowing in the sand.

Posted by Monique July 10, 2015 03:56:18PM

Reply

4    1

23

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi

Suits me...easier access to drinks and snacks both for me and my guests. But this is money not being spent on the local services, to their loss. And, unlike you, it seems, I have plenty of access to the ladies should the need arise. I'll leave it to you to pine over them going by on the sandy beach.

Posted by Jamie July 11, 2015 08:42:50AM

Reply

2    0

23

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi

Suits me...easier access to drinks and snacks both for me and my guests. But this is money not being spent on the local services, to their loss. And, unlike you, it seems, I have plenty of access to the ladies should the need arise. I'll leave it to you to pine over them going by on the sandy beach.

Posted by Jamie July 11, 2015 08:42:50AM

Reply

2    0

22

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi

But just imagine..... one of those ladies might even join you if you were on a bed instead of wallowing in the sand.

Posted by Monique July 10, 2015 03:56:18PM

Reply

4    1

21

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie.

You hit it in a nutshell – cheaper to stay by your pool. Good, that's partly what it's all about. But I think I would rather be sitting on the sand looking at the sea and watching the ladies go by.

Posted by bondi July 10, 2015 10:06:33AM

Reply

0    0

20

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER

Popular 'wisdom' is not always fact. Many folks see what they want to see, regardless of the numbers. So if for you it's uncomfortable to note that the number of inbound French is rising, then you might not note it. Or maybe your perception of diminished absolute numbers of European tourists is influenced by the landslide in the farang/Asian RATIO - only.

Posted by Dan Sherman

What is fact is that I have been living and doing business here for 25 years and so I am in a position to notice things. And then along comes an article from Tommy Serban to confirm what I and most expats on the island are saying. As for the French, they are very welcome; there is no need to use them in your argument.

Posted by peter July 9, 2015 10:59:22AM

Reply

6    0

19

80% of all types of tourists in the past spent their holidays on the beach and that's a fact after leaving here for the past 28 years. With the present sunlounger and food ban big numbers of tourists will choose other destinations. Now the big question is, what other attractions Phuket has to offer for tourists? Is it the traffic chaos, immigration hassle, rip off transport cardels or the huge environment issues? [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Supermax

You've been "leaving here" for 28 years? :)) Lots of the long term expats here been doing that, and declaring it in their (boring) comments on this website. 'That's it; I'm outta here. Goin' to Vietnam'. Lol

Posted by Charlie (Still here) July 9, 2015 10:00:37AM

Reply

2    0

18

For the most part, I agree with Mr Serban's comments but to suggest people are staying away because of the sunbed issue is frankly ridiculous. Maybe HIS customer base is affected, but the majority of people I have spoken to are fully in favour of the current situation. A Govt's job is to GOVERN, not to worry about policing sunbeds. Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach.

Posted by Mister Ree

"Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach." Correct – I GUARANTEE it.

Posted by Somchai July 9, 2015 09:50:34AM

Reply

4    3

17

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER

Popular 'wisdom' is not always fact. Many folks see what they want to see, regardless of the numbers. So if for you it's uncomfortable to note that the number of inbound French is rising, then you might not note it. Or maybe your perception of diminished absolute numbers of European tourists is influenced by the landslide in the farang/Asian RATIO - only.

Posted by Dan Sherman July 9, 2015 09:44:34AM

Reply

0    4

16

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi

Nope! Until the sunbeds return, I and my house guests will be remaining by my pool. Cheaper too.

Posted by Jamie. July 9, 2015 08:19:17AM

Reply

9    1

15

Nice article. I would like to suggest Clean public toilets along the beaches ..24 hour baht buses .removal of all jet-skis and a railway link from Bangkok to Phang-Nga would all help as well.

Posted by rick o shay July 9, 2015 03:44:32AM

Reply

4    0

14

80% of all types of tourists in the past spent their holidays on the beach and that's a fact after leaving here for the past 28 years. With the present sunlounger and food ban big numbers of tourists will choose other destinations. Now the big question is, what other attractions Phuket has to offer for tourists? Is it the traffic chaos, immigration hassle, rip off transport cardels or the huge environment issues? [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Supermax July 8, 2015 11:24:27PM

Reply

9    1

13

"They need the convenience of a sun lounger and an umbrella when they are out in 35-degree heat on the beach all day." A bit of an oxymoron! Here's an idea – cut down on the time sat at the beach if one is going to sit in the shade. Kamala has managed fine this season with a hugely reduced number of sunbeds, and the beach has been a far pleasanter place for the lack of them.

Posted by Mister Ree July 8, 2015 10:55:11PM

Reply

0    3

12

For the most part, I agree with Mr Serban's comments but to suggest people are staying away because of the sunbed issue is frankly ridiculous. Maybe HIS customer base is affected, but the majority of people I have spoken to are fully in favour of the current situation. A Govt's job is to GOVERN, not to worry about policing sunbeds. Give the operators an inch and they will steal back the entire beach.

Posted by Mister Ree July 8, 2015 10:50:01PM

Reply

2    7

11

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford

Well to start off with Tommy Serban's article is very clear and to the point; I can't say the same of what Bill Barnett writes, and then in Bill's last article he wrote that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of European tourists, but instead an increase, something I found rather surprising as anyone who lives on the island and does business here knows very well that that's not true.

Posted by PETER July 8, 2015 09:19:49PM

Reply

2    0

10

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

The beach loving tourists are greatly out numbered by the beach people wanting the chairs. Have you been watching or hiding somewhere in the hills?

Posted by mr richie

Mike has written nothing that could lead one to think he might be hiding in the hills; it's you who has done that. Please note that Mike has expressed no opinion with regard to beach chairs. You might also wish to read the story again so that you can grasp the context of all of the comments here.

Posted by Dennis Coburn July 8, 2015 06:20:42PM

Reply

9    12

9

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

The beach loving tourists are greatly out numbered by the beach people wanting the chairs. Have you been watching or hiding somewhere in the hills?

Posted by mr richie July 8, 2015 06:01:54PM

Reply

14    3

8

Don't worry, it's all in hand. New flyovers and underpasses will solve all the island's traffic issues. Pay just 100 baht at the airport for fast track clearance through immigration. Oh, and sunbeds? They never went away at all, did they?

Posted by agogohome July 8, 2015 11:47:51AM

Reply

31    22

7

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter

Why should Bill Barnett take note? I'm thinking he'd agree with both the substance and the tone of Mr Serban's comments. Or is that your point?

Posted by George Crawford July 8, 2015 11:11:13AM

Reply

11    10

6

Thanks to Mr Serban for such a level-headed, truthful and constructive assessment of where Phuket stands on the world tourism map today. Views formed and expressed in this way have a chance of being heard and taken seriously by those who call the shots here. He's a great ambassador for his company, for Denmark, and, in the end, for Phuket itself.

Posted by Art Anderson July 8, 2015 11:03:12AM

Reply

48    32

5

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike

"They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only." This is obvious, but hey – they're gonna love the island's new dolphinarium. And who knows... with a bit of luck we'll be seeing some more venues for shark's fin soup!

Posted by Forecaster July 8, 2015 10:47:44AM

Reply

51    36

4

Great Article. I have many friends in the pensioner age from Europe who can afford 5-star resorts and who used to come regularly to Phuket. They told me they won't come again till the beach chairs and umbrellas are back. Don't expect them to lie in the sand on a towel. To have a good holiday, it is necessary to provide them with proper, clean beach facilities like beach chairs, umbrellas, food/drinks, clean toilets, Life Guards, etc. If tourists don't get what they expect, they will elsewhere to get it. Many options.

Posted by Tourist needs July 8, 2015 10:26:01AM

Reply

69    29

3

You said it in one sentence. They're over 50, maybe more like 65, and there were a lot more of you guys coming BEFORE they brought the idea of sun beds to Phuket. So good riddance to the beds; the sand is great.

Posted by Bondi July 8, 2015 10:19:03AM

Reply

36    56

2

Finally, some unbiased, simple and straight-to-the-point information which tells us exactly what the situation is. Bill Barnett from c9 hotelworks should take note.

Posted by peter July 8, 2015 10:03:43AM

Reply

42    22

1

The TAT and the government don't feel the need to address the drop in arrivals from western (mostly European) countries. They have successfully replaced nature and beach loving tourists with Chinese package tourists who come for shopping only. And when Chinese tourists show up in large numbers, they are a further deterrent to Europeans. But it eliminates the need to clean up the environment, which is apparently not recognised by those who 'govern' Phuket.

Posted by Mike July 8, 2015 09:27:29AM

Reply

63    8

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