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Phuket Opinion: Silence is killing confidence

Phuket Opinion: Silence is killing confidence

PHUKET: The lack of clear information about the July 1 reopening of Phuket to receiving vaccinated foreign tourists needs immediate attention before the silence does any more damage to just the confidence among prospective tourists that local officials have any idea of what they are doing to prepare for the milestone event.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 13 June 2021, 10:00AM

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn was in Phuket in person yesterday (June 12) to make sure the message for July 1 was being heard, yet more needs to be revealed publicly to instill confidence among the public. Photo: TAT

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn was in Phuket in person yesterday (June 12) to make sure the message for July 1 was being heard, yet more needs to be revealed publicly to instill confidence among the public. Photo: TAT

International expert reports calling the preparations for the July 1 reopening “chaotic” is being polite. Not in that nothing is being done, but the near-daily announcements of changes in the requirements and the scramble to make sure hotels and other tourism-service businesses are ready is not helping.

Having reports circulate just yesterday citing Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn saying that Phuket “will not be ready” for July 1 would have deterred any prospective tourists from making any decisions of travel to Phuket – even if just for day until they learned that Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn was in Phuket in person that same day (yesterday) to lead a workshop with leading Phuket tourism figures about making sure that businesses and services that will be open for the reopening are so in full compliance with anti-COVID measures.

It should be taken for granted that if July 1 were no longer going ahead, the governor of the most important international tourism agency for the country would not be wasting his time with leading such a workshop. Mr Yuthasak’s attendance in person was to prove one point only: a clear message of the importance he is personally giving to July 1.

The problem stems from right here in our province, where our local leading provincial officials are not providing the assurances needed to instill confidence in the messages the public is receiving. The lack of updates and reports – even if the answer to any particular issue, say the vaccination of expats on the island, is “we do not know right now, please wait” – forces people to look elsewhere for answers.

That is how expats across the island started looking at the web portal to register to be vaccinated, exactly how they were told repeatedly by officials in Bangkok. It was not until the grapevine advice of seasoned expats on the island, using their own contacts and understanding of local bureaucracy, and of the required ‘kreng jai’ kowtowing to superiors in the capital, that it has become clear that Phuket expats are not to be registered by that system.

The public relations exercise has been a farce. Mr Yuthasak’s visit yesterday was not reported by local government agencies. Not even a link to the report posted in the TAT’s main website was shared on Phuket’s official channels, leaving any observers open to taking the report of Mr Phiphat’s claim – which still may be true – at face value. People just do not know what is true.

Silence on the last three COVID deaths in Phuket – now three deaths in under two weeks – also leaves a chasm in people’s confidence, as everywhere else in country seems to be appraised of the COVID situation in their provinces.

If Phuket officials are withholding information because they have been ordered to by superiors in Bangkok, they must say so. If higher-ranking officials are making announcements directly regarding Phuket while elsewhere in the country, those reports must be relayed through Phuket officials.

Constant reassurance is needed. Without it, Thailand will reap what it sows through confusion.

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Kurt | 15 June 2021 - 12:01:17

@treasurefish, who actually are handling presently abroad the CEO processing?

ematt | 15 June 2021 - 10:01:34

This editorial is reads as if it were written by one of the whining and moaning chronic malcontents who have nothing better to do than post on here daily with their superior wisdom and expert advice as to what  Thai authorities should really be doing. LOL.

Dave_C | 15 June 2021 - 07:03:34

Thai Government
Has once again
Angered and
Local residents with
Nonsensical, crazy and inconsistent
Decision making

treasurefish | 14 June 2021 - 21:57:14

We really just need the COE process to be setup by the embassies and for the list of low to medium risk countries please.  

Dave_C | 14 June 2021 - 16:05:43

Thailand administration
Has once again
Angered and
Local residents by
Allowing influence with
Dictatorial edicts

lelecuneo | 14 June 2021 - 12:48:11

all hotels are catually ready and well prepared, most of the top hotels are managed by international chains and foregner managemen and they have been waiting this banana government and organization to actaully get a clue of themself.... total fiasco from Thai agencies once again....

Fascinated | 14 June 2021 - 11:34:49

Personally I've never had an issue with Immigration in all the years I have been here Johannes- maybe its all down to attitude. Go in properly prepared and presentable and the service is fine. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about Phuket- why live here if you object to it so much?

johannesweber | 13 June 2021 - 20:11:20

 Phuket way over built and over developed and now it is all crashing down , it happened in a Capitalist economy which was based on tourism

johannesweber | 13 June 2021 - 20:08:39

Look it will be years before international tourist flock to Phuket again, why all the red tape and its  a lot easier now day and safer nd less complicated to vacation near home, 

johannesweber | 13 June 2021 - 20:06:17

Phuket is dying real fast and it will take many years for it to recover, but for some it is better, the traffic problem, over crowding, sleazy bars and bar girls are all but gone ,which is a good thing and there were way to many of them. 

johannesweber | 13 June 2021 - 20:03:23

Its just like immigration in Phuket town, every day its some thing silly ,stupid and because the officials and staff have no clear under standing of the situation that walk around confused and there only concern is collecting money from expats

Capricornball | 13 June 2021 - 18:37:57

Side Bar: Poorly written article (was Editor on holiday?) Regardless, can't mask the chaos in officialdom, as one could expect with a full staff of unprofessional non-experts making critical decisions that affect the entire country. Amazing that for a country that seems to value "face" over all else, this entire covid circus has smeared crap all over every face in Thai government. Em...

Dave_C | 13 June 2021 - 15:59:12

Couldn't organize ......... !

Kurt | 13 June 2021 - 15:21:32

I pity the business entrepreneurs who were eagerly looking for reopening Phuket. All the Government/TAT signals are flip-flopping sneaky on red about it. All their regimental ruling this moment is purposely making tourists to think twice before going Phuket. Poor entrepreneurs. Government Officials don't emotional really care, they get their salary anyway.

Christy Sweet | 13 June 2021 - 13:59:20

Seems the Phuket Petri Dish Experiment on what happens when an insufficiently inoculated populace is exposed to multiple variant viral particles is game on.  Mask up, stay in  because it's going to be a dangerous summer for non vaccinated expat retirees .  

Sandbar | 13 June 2021 - 13:29:12

China has an influence in Thailand politics. Thailand won't cross China there's too much money to loose. China is furious with western politics and it's looking more like that dislike is being directed to foriegners living in Thailand through the governments lack of support and direction!

GerryT81 | 13 June 2021 - 13:09:19

Agreed ! One has to look only at the useless Governor "Serving" Phuket so badly right now. He keeps quiet on so many issues. The Mayor of Patong had to break the news about bars etc. being not allowed to open.Till now no word from the Governor about it. Everyone can keep only guessing about the date for a reopening. He does everything to discouraging those in dire need to make some money...

CaptainJack69 | 13 June 2021 - 12:52:32

Too many "superiors" in Bangkok would lose face if this was cancelled so perhaps they are deliberately sabotaging the reopening by doing everything they can to discourage potential tourists from coming? If so they're doing a great job.

Kurt | 13 June 2021 - 11:36:10

It's very clear that Phuket officialdom and TAT are swimming in a 'fish bowl', in hands of 'Bangkok'.  I still don't know what actually is official status of TAT. Has it official government authority with announcing nonsense Covid-19 travel rules for foreigners? Actually discourage foreigners to travel to Thailand.

Kurt | 13 June 2021 - 11:23:02

Travel Copenhage- A'dam-Doha-Phuket. Do RT-PCR test, next day departure Copenhage. ( 24 hrs gone). Than 3 flights with 2 stop over times. Hopefully no delays during the travel, otherwise the RT-PCR test has expired upon arrival Phuket.

Heinz | 13 June 2021 - 10:40:30

Good article! Hopefully it will be read and, more importantly, understood by the Phuket authorities!


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