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Phuket Opinion: Tourism is how Phuket ‘grows rice’

Phuket Opinion: Tourism is how Phuket ‘grows rice’

PHUKET: Praise must go to whoever asked deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul to announce from Government House on Friday that the ‘Phuket Model’ is far from confirmed and that the announcement that Phuket technically being allowed to receive international tourists from Oct 1 would not open the floodgates for foreign tourists to enter the country and spark an outbreak of COVID-19.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 30 August 2020, 09:00AM

A man sifts through garbage beside a road in Patong. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A man sifts through garbage beside a road in Patong. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

So far all Phuket officials have announced is their general outline, it was more of a statement of intent. No actual details have been revealed, and any measures to be implemented have yet to be approved and confirmed by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok. Nothing will happen until they say so.

The clear issue is scaremongering and fear. To that, reporting of polls that claim that “more than 90%” of respondents voted to not reopen anywhere in Thailand to any tourists for the foreseeable future need to also report exactly which segments of the population they surveyed.

Farmers in the Northeast can do without tourists, but not here in Phuket. Tourism is how we ‘grow rice’. Without it, we suffer harshly. Let’s try telling rice farmers that they will not be allowed to sell their rice to anyone for the foreseeable future, and you will see protests akin to those of 2010, the so-called “people’s rebellion”, after the graft-ridden rice-subsidy scheme was drawn to a halt.

Further, an academic still on a full, fat government salary entirely unaffected by the current economic crisis telling millions of jobless people without any form of income that they must suffer for at least another six months is a pill too bitter to swallow.

Presenting spiralling numbers of deaths and infections in countries does nothing for the argument that Thailand must remain closed to the entire world. The global statistics report include differences in testing methods that make it very difficult to scientifically compare exactly how many people have tested positive to what.

Art-Tec Design

The entire process of which foreigners may come and the conditions they may enter the country must be carefully thought out, but the decisions must be made soon. As more than 80% of respondents to an online by The Phuket News, with 38% of respondents being Thai, has shown, this island needs to restart its tourism industry, with appropriate protocols, regardless whether the rest of the country does not.

One thing officials must address sooner or later is what they will do when a COVID-positive person arrives in Phuket. That is inevitable, and the fearful throughout the country need to know that. A clear reminder that this was never about preventing the disease from arriving here, it was about “flattening the curve”, a phrase that has disappeared from news reports in recent months.

The CCSA reports at least one new COVID-positive case arriving from overseas every day. There is no panic about that, because of the highly publicised explanation that they are immediately removed from the general population and isolated for further testing and treatment. That begs the question of where is the wave of fear coming from.

What Phuket does with a new arrival who tests positive for COVID-19 is paramount. More so, officials need to make clear exactly what will they do with people who test positive for the disease but exhibit no signs of infection. Right now the world does not want to recognise that it has yet to be proved whether the disease can or cannot be transmitted by an asymptomatic person. Without doubt, this will be the new normal.

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Pascale | 31 August 2020 - 18:20:20

@jim98040      No Masks and no social distancing ?  OMG,that's terrible news !

Lu | 31 August 2020 - 16:08:54

The planed test for phuket is no real test, because it contains 14dayquarant. _ ok for longterm and expats. And when REAL Tourist are coming in the future they will Not accept 14dayquarant!!!! So the test is for nothing. 

Bob1957 | 31 August 2020 - 09:16:23

It was expected that farang holding retirement visa would be added to the list of those allowed back into the country effective from 1/9/20. I have seen no official confirmation what is the status of this initiative and how does government plan to reduce the waiting list of farang who reside in Thailand Trying to return due to a lack of arranged dedicated flights by thai or other airlines?

Christy Sweet | 31 August 2020 - 08:57:47

Tourism is unsustainable in the best of times and it appears capitalism is a bit too fragile these days. This won't be the first pandemic. Socialism now, please.

jim98040 | 30 August 2020 - 23:17:19

At the Food Festival Sunday August 30 50% of the people wore no masks and no social distancing and zero enforcement.It's clear residence and local government are not taking this seriously. Once tourists are allowed in, covid will spread. Unfortunately it make take a bunch of dead to make residence  realize covid is not going away. When a vaccine is widely inoculated, we can return to normal.

ThorFinger | 30 August 2020 - 21:32:09

Good job again. Do any thai officials read this? Somebody needs to shove it in front of their noses. Things are getting worse. I am still receiving money from Australians to give out food packages but soon it will not be enough and even I'm struggling to survive here with my business shut and my apartments full of thai who cannot afford to pay rent. 

Galong | 30 August 2020 - 20:04:34

Kudos for the nicely-written factual article. Sadly, using logic seems out of vogue these days. Yes, life must eventually go on. BTW, let's boycott rice. 555

ericphuket | 30 August 2020 - 14:24:58

A few months longer with this useless government proposals who change every day and the last 5% of tourism businesses not closed yet will completely die.
And there is a solution to open safely using the UAE model, requiring a test before departure,  a test on arrival in the airport and a 24 h quarantine while waiting for the result.

CaptainJack69 | 30 August 2020 - 12:24:07

Where is the "wave of fear" coming from? Simple xenophobia. It's nothing new, it's only ever been veiled by a very thin mask.

These "bubble" ideas seem to expect foreigners to do the same 14 day quarantine as returning Thais and STILL be heavily restricted after that. Whereas the Thai's are just released. Where's the greater danger?

Kurt | 30 August 2020 - 10:37:49

So many thai, flying in from abroad with a fit to fly certificate turn out to be Covid-19 positive upon arrival in Thailand. So, with them must be more people on these flights infected. We never hear more about it. Are there 'hiding procedures'? Time to valuate the worthless  Fit to Fly certificates.

Kurt | 30 August 2020 - 10:16:42

..For that they do a lot of regimental tail wagging, not to comfort/welcome tourists, but for money only. Well, Thailand is very rich, can do a lot more for her population, set priorities. Put sub marine adventure on hold. Why to give that few navy officers a hobby climax? For what?  Oh, it was proven that positive asymptomatic people do infect others

Kurt | 30 August 2020 - 10:06:35

Government deputy spokespersons always come out with non committing phrases (intent) to keep people calm. The real thing come from the real spokespersons. They mostly hide.  Thailand always remains 'emotionally' closed to the outside world. Part of 'Thainess'. It is only the money from the outside world they now want desperately. For that they do a lot of regimental tail wagging . ...


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