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Phuket Opinion: So where the bloody hell are you?

PHUKET: The defence mounted by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office Director Kanokkittika Kritwutikon against claims online that Phuket is suffering an incredibly low number of visitors during the current tourism ‘high season’ raises many grave questions about Phuket’s tourism industry.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 23 December 2018, 09:00AM

A bar in Patong is devoid of punters on Wednesday night (Dec 19). Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A bar in Patong is devoid of punters on Wednesday night (Dec 19). Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

First, Ms Kanokkittika drawing on statistics of international arrivals numbers at Phuket airport for Dec 1-15, a period ending only three days earlier, must have raised some eyebrows. They have to be the fastest-cited tourism statistics ever. The Ministry of Tourism & Sports as of Tuesday still had yet to post arrivals statistics for November.

And coming to her support was Sarayut Mallum, a man who has never backed away from blasting the government in matters affecting Phuket’s tourism industry.

We are not discounting the assessment by Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA), which represents some 500 entertainment businesses in Phuket’s busiest tourism party town, of the “massive impact” of the fall in the number of tourists in Patong. “It is the worst high season in Patong in 10 years,” he said plainly.

The Phuket News had received many of the same reports before we sourced that quote, and we don’t doubt that many businesses in Patong are suffering greatly. The question is: ‘Exactly which businesses are suffering, and why?’

Much suspicion lends itself to the huge shift in the demographics in the visitors coming to Phuket, and more specifically to Patong.

After decades of barfly-cum-party hard males descending on Patong for wanton relief, the town has seen a shift to more families arriving, and now that factor is coupled with increasing numbers of tourists from countries that simply don’t go for that form of entertainment, or even for relaxing in bars. Hence the proliferation of food establishments and more mainstream live music venues along Bangla Rd in recent years.

Maybe Patong’s days as a “party capital” are finally drawing to a close. Discounting the sordid and criminal aspects of the town, that would be a pity. Having a fun place to go for a holiday – or even for a weekend staycation – and have your relaxing beaches and natural surroundings nearby is what everyone strives for.

But let’s face it, we never wanted to be a second Pattaya anyway.



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CaptainJack69 | 24 December 2018 - 00:48:47

Patongs shift to a more family oriented market is nothing new, it's been getting less 'Bangla-Road' centered for over a decade. The current slump in business however only started this September.  The slump has been felt all across Phuket, but now it seems Patong is struggling more than elsewhere to recover.

Bev0779 | 23 December 2018 - 17:18:45

Its getting more expensive every time i go and it does not help with the police trying to fine you every time you park your bike and a lot of thefts working the town but the police dont care 

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