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"Expensive" Phuket dead as a dodo this high season


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"Expensive" Phuket dead as a dodo this high season

 

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Picture: Facebook Jimmy Elizabeth

 

Claims have been made that Phuket has priced itself out of the market. 

 

Both Thais and foreigners are voting with their feet saying that a trip to the Thai holiday island is as expensive as going abroad - and possibly more so. 

 

A devastating analysis - mostly via pictures - appeared on Facebook and was widely shared and picked up by the Thai press. 

 

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Picture: Facebook Jimmy Elizabeth

 

On the Jimmy Elizabeth Sea Trip page tourism to Patong was described as the worst in ten years. 

 

Many Patong hotels were up for sale.

 

Restaurants and massage shops were going bust - there were just no customers. 

 

Pictures taken in the area on the public holiday last Monday were accompanied by a statement:

 

"Is this what high season looks like?"

 

Suggestions were being made in comments that Phuket was too expensive - and Thai and foreign tourists were looking for more affordable options elsewhere. 

 

Events that have impacted tourism like the Phoenix boat tragedy are only partly to blame.

 

Phuket has priced itself out of the market.

 
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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-12-17
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A couple of days ago, I was shopping at the local market, when a young Thai man came up and said hello. I was hesitant at first because he looked like a typical island guy wearing a sleeveless shirt, long shorts and covered in tattoos.  Farmers don't wear clothes like this. But, his English was not bad and we got to talking. North, was his name and he was actually from this district where I live in Phitsanulok.  But he had made a living as a tattoo artist down in Phuket for the last ten years. Why was he home? He said no tourists.

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I live in Hua Hin which is about 10-30% more expensive than say near by Pranburi or Phetchaburi and when I went to Phuket it was so expensive for everything I was like let me out of here.  

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Phuket is my favourite place in Thailand. When holidaying here, I spent 4-5 days on Phuket every trip.

 

When moving here permanently, I decided that Phuket was too expensive and a bit isolated for me to make it my permanent base. However, Phuket was a magnet to me and I still made a trip there every year.

 

Last year, it felt that there had been a step change in the price of everything, This was also accompanies by a poorer service/quality of everything too. I didn't enjoy my trip and felt that it was one big rip off and not the place it was. This year, for the first time in a good number of years, I haven't visited and have no plans to do so in the future.

 

Gutted.

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Phuket is not alone in having very few tourists. Pattaya looks like the depths of low season compared with a few years back. It will be tough for TAT to spin some lies to pretend this is not the case, when the evidence, or lack of it, is clearly visible to all. Thailand has problems with its tourist industry, and it is time for the denial to stop.

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Im sure they are scatching their heads thinking ''we tried everything ,even the honest taxi tall tales aren't working'' ...''Mabey its time for another new shopping mall''.....

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I just spent two weeks in Patong. It certainly was not dead.

All of the beaches I went to were very clean, as were the streets.

Great deals on good food were not hard to find.

Plenty of friendly people.

I will be going back.

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1 minute ago, darksidedog said:

Phuket is not alone in having very few tourists. Pattaya looks like the depths of low season compared with a few years back. It will be tough for TAT to spin some lies to pretend this is not the case, when the evidence, or lack of it, is clearly visible to all. Thailand has problems with its tourist industry, and it is time for the denial to stop.

Took my son to the ice rink in Harbor, this Sunday afternoon this high season. He was the only one on the ice.

 

The attractions on the lower floors had similar attendance.

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Just now, janclaes47 said:

Took my son to the ice rink in Harbor, this Sunday afternoon this high season. He was the only one on the ice.

 

The attractions on the lower floors had similar attendance.

The Harbour never really attracted tourists, more of a place for expats and Thais. Never seen it really busy and, IMHO, has been killed off completely by the opening of T21.

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said it a long time ago - with greed in entertainment venues and ripoff transport they have priced themselves out of the market, certain areas of pattaya have done the same along with Ban Chang and the islands - they just can't help themselves, they seem to think tourists have no other choices and will keep coming as prices go up along with the baht - they won't

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I think the Exchange rate has a fair bit to do with it.  I've been when its up around 30 (AUD that is) which makes everything a lot cheaper.  I was there in November and it was still quite busy. Our hotel was full and a lot of the bars all had people in them.

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51 minutes ago, darksidedog said:

No tourists? Som nam na. If you looked after them better, and ripped them off less, you might not have the problem.

Now might be the time to increase prices again to make up for the shortfall. Local logic!

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junk ceylon at noon yesterday was very busy and more farangs than Chinese,which is a nice change,

Kamalabeach over the past week has seen a huge increase in people on the beach

Trafiic between Kamala and Central last week was double what it was the week beofre.

 

Yea,go out at 9 am on beach road in Patong it will be empty!!

 

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The current administration (house of fools) could not have possible screwed this one up more, even if they were making an effort to deliberately destroy Western tourism. Sure, some Chinese are still coming. But, despite the surveys to the contrary, the average Chinese tourist does not spend much, and if they are spending alot, at least a portion of it stays home, with the tour operators, etc. Few Thais are really benefitting from the Chinese wave.

 

So, what happened? The Western tourists started to decline in number, and the genius minds at the TAT decided it was time to "lure" the Chinese. They came. They came in droves. But, they did not spend much money. Hotels, restaurants, gift shops, jewelers, galleries, spas, massage shops, bars, and countless other businesses suffered, and will continue to suffer from this extreme myopia, on the part of the officials in charge of tourism. Oh well. Can't say they were not warned. Zero baht tourists are the majority who visit Thailand now. Sure, they spend some money in restaurants, at the supermarket, and in 7/11. But, that is about it, for some of the super low budget Chinese tours. Not many rich Chinese are visiting Thailand, for a dozen good reasons. They have too many other options, and the services are nowhere near a world class standard. 

 

There are countless things the government could be doing, if they wanted to attract the high quality tourists. The very first thing would be to repeal the anti fareng wine bill, that was passed by a few very corrupt senators way back when, to protect an anemic local wine industry. They are losing billions of dollars a year in revenue, that would be had from a 100% wine duty, instead of over 300%. The five star hotels would have major wine events, and the entire industry would flourish here. Then of course, there are the local merchants and hotel owners. I agree, they have priced themselves out of the market. Bangkok is a better deal than Phuket. Samui is equally stupid, when it comes to pricing. Hard to find an entree anywhere for less than 200-300 baht. Nearly all the little mom and pop restaurants that I used to frequent in Samui are gone, replaced by expensive places, that overcharge for everything on the menu. They are trying to make the place into a five star island, but without the services, expertise,  and english skills. When you add in the risks in terms of public safety, the boating accidents, the callousness on the part of law enforcement and the government, and the astonishing lack of real law enforcement, it scares people away. 

 

 

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Just now, spidermike007 said:

The very first thing would be to repeal the anti fareng wine bill, that was passed by a few very corrupt senators way back when, to protect an anemic local wine industry. They are losing billions of dollars a year in revenue, that would be had from a 100% wine duty, instead of over 300%. The five star hotels would have major wine events, and the entire industry would flourish here. 

There speaks a wine buff! Please can we have a reduction in foreign, imported beer too? Most places no longer sell draught Stella. I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

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Prior and up to the "boat incident", the big baht tourism marketing and promotion budgets, were primarily focused on the Chinese.   Oooops....medals, hugs and participation ribbons planned everyone

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No bother for us expats, as we have work arounds, have some local knowledge, and can avoid the tourist traps.

 

However, put yourself in the position of a first time independent western tourist coming to Phuket, and the question is, do you think they will be getting a pleasant, value for money holiday?  The answer has been "no" for the last few years.

 

The western tourist market has been on the decline here for some time, so what do those in authority do here, not fix the issues, and lure them back, just fill the void with Chinese package holiday makers. 

 

Whilst the arrival numbers may be up, way up, I would suggest the revenue from tourists on Phuket is down, way down.  There's no use having "a bum on a seat" unless they are opening their wallet.

 

The whole way the tourism industry is administered on Phuket needs to change, or, it will be another Costa del Sol, as I have said in the past. 

 

Whilst I don't condone rip offs, you can rip off some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time, which is what Phuket has been doing for years.  It gained the nick name "Pirate Island" by expats living elsewhere in Thailand.  Prime example being land transport here, and proven by the the fact the majority of tourists to Phuket now use coach buses.

 

Basically, Phuket refused to change, so the tourists changed.

 

It was always going to come to this.  The greedy Thai's, and those with their sense of entitlement, have pushed the tourism market dollar to breaking point, through high rents, collusion, extortion, monopoly, over charging etc etc.

 

What legacy will these "influential people" leave their children, other than a big bank account, a lot of derelict commercial properties, along with dirty beaches and water, and failing infrastructure?  They will certainly NOT be leaving behind a sustainable tourism industry, and an environment that would attract tourists.

 

There were high hopes for Phuket when the Thai military took over the country, which I stated as what I believed to be Phuket's last chance.  Thus, some years later, and still under military rule, Phuket continues down the road to its own demise.

 

Currently, Phuket has put all its eggs in the one basket, the Chinese, which can be a fickle market, not to mention what the guys in Beijing can do, with the stroke of a pen.  Whilst they do not "spend" if you take the Chinese market out of Phuket, you would have a ghost town island, virtually over night.

 

Sadly, things will get a lot worse on Phuket, before there will even be a chance of REAL change here.  

 

   

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