Phuket Airport Asleep at the Wheel?
While the mounting storm of controversy concerning foreign nominees, land rights and that elusive beach front land issue its important to take a step back and realize that the engine which makes Phuket tug along continues to be tourism and the service industry.
Perhaps the same consideration as is fueling a heated depart on property could be better directed to looking after our tourism industry and ensuring care, safety and international standards are in place which will ensure long term stability. Traveling often to Bangkok the past month it's been a pleasure to walk through the airport, no touts hassling you, get into a metered tax (paying a THB 50 baht surcharge) and arriving at your destination.
Returning to Phuket is like running a virtual gauntlet with taxi touts, guides, and hotel bookings and of course vacation ownership reps. Visitors are for the most part denied access to proper curbside metered taxis and concessionaires rule with prices well in excess of the norm. The same can be said for someone wanting to go from Patong to Laguna in a tuk tuk in what would cost well under THB 100 baht in a metered taxi in Bangkok costs THB 600-1000 here.
With tourists drowning almost every week perhaps the airport needs a spring cleaning, preventative information handed out about safe swimming and tourists lives saved instead of being jeopardized by taxi touts, jet ski operators and a number of other tourist scams.
If they can clean up Bangkok airport, why can't the same be done on this island? We are still targeting over 5 million visitors this year and instead of chasing the demons of nominees perhaps equal vigor should be applied to the tourism dollar meal ticket, which is the underpinning economic mother lode of destination Phuket.