Phuket Gazette

Bhuritt Maswongssa is the vice president of Marketing at the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA). Originally from Yala, he moved to Phuket in 1985. Vice chairman of the Patong Resort Hotel; a law graduate from both Ngee Ann College in Singapore and Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand; and a master’s graduate in business from Phuket Rajabhat University; Mr Bhuritt is a force to be reckoned with.

Here, he calls for law enforcement in Phuket to make tourists feel safe on the island, and reveals the feedback he has received from tourists about the beach-cleanup campaign.

PHUKET: Most of the feedback I have received about the beach-cleanup campaign is that tourists want to see the government strictly enforce the law. Most of them have no problem with the campaign. They understand the problems that have been brought about by beach vendors occupying the sands.

Beach vendors became a provincial-level problem because local officials let them go unchecked for years and it got out of hand.

I personally agreed with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) mandating that the beaches be cleared. Officials let it go on too long. They did not consider managing the beach to be a serious issue, so it became a big problem when people used public land for their own businesses.

Now, it is up to government bodies to take care of, but what remains critical is that tourists want to see Phuket officials enforcing the law and being fair to everyone.

They want to see officials make safety and security a top priority, and provide proper public utilities for everyone. They do not want them to pick on some businesses, and leave others alone. That act alone can do much harm to the tourism industry.

Law enforcement must be carried out at all times, not only during some pre-defined periods or so-called “crackdowns”. Otherwise, it will be hard to contain the negative influences and prevent the same situation from recurring.

All these issues have taken their toll on Phuket’s tourism, but none more so than the current state of oversupply in tourist accommodations on the island. There are too many hotels, too many rooms.

Although we currently have about the same number of tourists as last year, the current occupancy rate of hotels is 65-70 per cent.

There is little we can do to improve occupancy rates in Phuket. We can’t reduce the number of rooms available, so we keep doing our best in marketing the island as a holiday destination.

Our role – that of the PTA – is to bring tourists to Phuket. We do the marketing. We leave the public-utility management to the government sector.

If anything, we should be working closer with government agencies to make sure our marketing plans and the island’s development are kept at a close pace, so that the supply of hotels stays close to the level of demand.

We are ready and willing to do this. Together is always better.

This article first appeared in the December 6-12 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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1

If you could ask the local authorities to have the beach cleaned and raked with tractors every day (like is done almost everywhere else in the world), that would help. Easy now that all the sun beds and umbrellas are gone. The destroyed the shops have been replaced by gravel. This should be cleared and replaced by landscaping at the former tenant's expense. Some parts of the beach look like a war zone. Is this the image Phuket wants? Thank you.

Posted by James December 11, 2014 09:19:19AM

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13    8

2

I wonder how much of the high end occupancy is special tours at reduced room rates and therefore not a realistic percentage of investment return? Michael Maurice Arvin

Posted by Michael Arvin December 11, 2014 09:44:54AM

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5    10

3

I would say that one of the most important things is to bring back sunbeds and umbrellas. Maybe in a smaller number and managed by the government. But tourists want them! They also would like metered taxis.

Posted by 4 wins December 11, 2014 11:04:45AM

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11    3

4

(Part 1) He says “Now, it is up to government bodies to take care of, but what remains critical is that tourists want to see Phuket officials enforcing the law and being fair to everyone…” This is true, but he then ignores much of what the tourists want: None or much less government corruption.None or much fewer tourist scams and rip-offs. None or much less poor customer service from taxis and hotels.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:35:55AM

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5    4

5

(Part 2) Tourists want clean and safe beaches with lounges, umbrellas, shops, and restaurants. They must be properly regulated so not to become a problem as before. As with the jet-skis, zones of operation could be established and maintained. In the long run, the “clean” beaches will hurt tourism more than they will help. A middle ground must be found fast, or many of this year’s tourists won’t return in the future.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:37:24AM

Reply

5    2

6

(Part 3) His concern with the number of hotel rooms is not a real problem. Over the long haul, the number of rooms will be sufficient to satisfy the tourists' demands. Some years there will be too many, some years too few. But that shouldn’t be a government concern. The tourist industry needs to learn what tourists want. Until they do, Phuket tourism will decline, losing out to countries that cater to tourists.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:39:59AM

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5    7

7

Dead right, Mr. The bigger picture is that unfortunately the Thai heirarchy [sic] in Phuket dont [sic] know and dont [sic] ask what tourists want. THIER [SIC] decisions are based on what THEY think is required for a successful tourism industry.[sic]u[sic]nfortunately due to thier [sic] cultural naivity [sic] they are WAAAAY off the mark. a[sic]sk the tourists and expats what THEY want,[sic] its [sic] not rocket science, but for Phuket it appears that this is the case.

Posted by skip December 11, 2014 07:26:53PM

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2    0

8

Dead right, Mr. The bigger picture is that unfortunately the Thai heirarchy [sic] in Phuket dont [sic] know and dont [sic] ask what tourists want. THIER [SIC] decisions are based on what THEY think is required for a successful tourism industry.[sic]u[sic]nfortunately due to thier [sic] cultural naivity [sic] they are WAAAAY off the mark. a[sic]sk the tourists and expats what THEY want,[sic] its [sic] not rocket science, but for Phuket it appears that this is the case.

Posted by skip

Well said, Skip, well said.

Posted by Martin Heilmann December 12, 2014 12:28:29PM

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1    0

9

"Time to forge a new future for Phuket". I think you left off the "t" at the end of the 3rd word.

Posted by Chas December 12, 2014 01:03:28PM

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3    0

10

All about making potential visitors and investors believe that change is afoot. It isn't, and never will be. This is because society here is rooted in corruption.

Posted by The Night Mare December 14, 2014 11:10:30AM

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2    0

10

All about making potential visitors and investors believe that change is afoot. It isn't, and never will be. This is because society here is rooted in corruption.

Posted by The Night Mare December 14, 2014 11:10:30AM

Reply

2    0

9

"Time to forge a new future for Phuket". I think you left off the "t" at the end of the 3rd word.

Posted by Chas December 12, 2014 01:03:28PM

Reply

3    0

8

Dead right, Mr. The bigger picture is that unfortunately the Thai heirarchy [sic] in Phuket dont [sic] know and dont [sic] ask what tourists want. THIER [SIC] decisions are based on what THEY think is required for a successful tourism industry.[sic]u[sic]nfortunately due to thier [sic] cultural naivity [sic] they are WAAAAY off the mark. a[sic]sk the tourists and expats what THEY want,[sic] its [sic] not rocket science, but for Phuket it appears that this is the case.

Posted by skip

Well said, Skip, well said.

Posted by Martin Heilmann December 12, 2014 12:28:29PM

Reply

1    0

7

Dead right, Mr. The bigger picture is that unfortunately the Thai heirarchy [sic] in Phuket dont [sic] know and dont [sic] ask what tourists want. THIER [SIC] decisions are based on what THEY think is required for a successful tourism industry.[sic]u[sic]nfortunately due to thier [sic] cultural naivity [sic] they are WAAAAY off the mark. a[sic]sk the tourists and expats what THEY want,[sic] its [sic] not rocket science, but for Phuket it appears that this is the case.

Posted by skip December 11, 2014 07:26:53PM

Reply

2    0

6

(Part 3) His concern with the number of hotel rooms is not a real problem. Over the long haul, the number of rooms will be sufficient to satisfy the tourists' demands. Some years there will be too many, some years too few. But that shouldn’t be a government concern. The tourist industry needs to learn what tourists want. Until they do, Phuket tourism will decline, losing out to countries that cater to tourists.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:39:59AM

Reply

5    7

5

(Part 2) Tourists want clean and safe beaches with lounges, umbrellas, shops, and restaurants. They must be properly regulated so not to become a problem as before. As with the jet-skis, zones of operation could be established and maintained. In the long run, the “clean” beaches will hurt tourism more than they will help. A middle ground must be found fast, or many of this year’s tourists won’t return in the future.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:37:24AM

Reply

5    2

4

(Part 1) He says “Now, it is up to government bodies to take care of, but what remains critical is that tourists want to see Phuket officials enforcing the law and being fair to everyone…” This is true, but he then ignores much of what the tourists want: None or much less government corruption.None or much fewer tourist scams and rip-offs. None or much less poor customer service from taxis and hotels.

Posted by Bigfoot December 11, 2014 11:35:55AM

Reply

5    4

3

I would say that one of the most important things is to bring back sunbeds and umbrellas. Maybe in a smaller number and managed by the government. But tourists want them! They also would like metered taxis.

Posted by 4 wins December 11, 2014 11:04:45AM

Reply

11    3

2

I wonder how much of the high end occupancy is special tours at reduced room rates and therefore not a realistic percentage of investment return? Michael Maurice Arvin

Posted by Michael Arvin December 11, 2014 09:44:54AM

Reply

5    10

1

If you could ask the local authorities to have the beach cleaned and raked with tractors every day (like is done almost everywhere else in the world), that would help. Easy now that all the sun beds and umbrellas are gone. The destroyed the shops have been replaced by gravel. This should be cleared and replaced by landscaping at the former tenant's expense. Some parts of the beach look like a war zone. Is this the image Phuket wants? Thank you.

Posted by James December 11, 2014 09:19:19AM

Reply

13    8

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