Is Phuket in trouble? Answered Larry Cunningham

With my career, I always have opportunities to meet great people. Sometimes I write about some good things I got from them during the conversations. Sometimes I’ve learnt from their point of views, and sometimes I forgot who told me those memorable conversations (I’m sure it’s not because of high blood alcohol content at all).

Anyway sometimes who told me those great memorable conversations is not important if compare to WHAT he had told.

But only just a few people who I’ll never forget about him and what he had said. One of those is Larry Cunningham, CEO & General Manager of The Chava Resort.

Last month I had a chance to stay at The Chava Resort where located in Surin Beach with my friend. I met Larry Cunningham. We had a chat for almost a half hour and his conversations left me a question about Phuket.

Is Phuket in trouble?

Yes, we’re facing with a great trouble.

In 2004 Phuket get kick by the tsunami and we were healed.

Now in 2009, turmoil political situation & jet ski news in Patong kick Phuket away, but this time the wound doesn’t seem to be healed.

“We’re facing with many problems from every direction start from world financial crisis to our internal factors turmoil political situation, overcharge, jet ski problem that now cast a shadow on business.” said Larry.

Will Phuket attract fewer businessmen?

“I would agree with you in this point. Some businesses are leaving from Phuket to somewhere else such as Bali. The fact is the trend of Bali now is more attractive if compare to Phuket. Even if the two bombs last seven years killed many tourists, but now it’s safer than a place where we you’ve heard about a man carrying gun on the beach.”

What’s the worst thing in Farang’s mind?

“Actually Thailand has gorgeous cultures. People love to Wai (salute) and love to smile but they do for money. It’s a tricky not culture. You should do the right thing to the tourists because if they go back to their countries, they will tell 4-5 friends but if you do the bad things, they will tell at least 15 people.”

What’s the trend of tourists these days?

“The office of TAT Phuket, showed me the figure that 15% of tourists will never come back to Phuket again. It’s terrible. Maybe because of the problems they have faced with the locals. I think it’s getting worse especially the situation in Patong, it’s never gone and people keep talking. If you have kids, do you want them to travel to the place where you’ve heard about a guy carrying gun on the beach? You better tell them to go somewhere else safer.”

These are all I remember, the conversations that never left me until these days. How do we get rid out of these terrible problems? How could we make Phuket better?……

These questions will never end if WE don’t start to THINK & DO something for our beloved Phuket. Now it’s time to start before it’s too late.


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  • Is Phuket in trouble? Yes – but the whole world is in “deep shit”, but starting recovering from it now. Phuket is not in that much trouble. But – to be fair – yes – a little bit of trouble. I just left my family in the airport – and I can promise you, the smiles they had on their faces, could not be paid with money. They had the best holiday ever in their more than 70 years lifetime. I think that many reporters in Thailand in lack of big news, start digging into small irritating problems. In this article – terrorist bombs killing a lot of people in Bali is compared to jet ski scams in Paton. Why Bali comes back? I must say clever marketing and no bad articles. Good job.
    Please be responsible – this does not help Phuket out of trouble – this is the trouble.

  • Good honest interview. Congratulations to the intervuewer. what is happening will only improve IF the Thais agree there are problems – only then can you remedy the problems. Do not sweep the problems under the carpet and say ‘everything is cool”.

  • I agree with Mr Cunningham. Phuket is changing, particularly in the last 3 years or so.
    The crime rate is increasing and everyday I read on the internet that someone has been shot or stabbed in Patong or nearby. Teenage gangs are increasingly getting violent .
    This is not the image to attract tourists. Yes the geography of Phuket is beautiful and the majority of people are kind, friendly people , with good intentions, BUT there is a growing element of thugs and criminals that will ruin the island and the tourist industry with it. The Thai authorities need to wake up and see this otherwise soon enough, the tourists will go to safer places like Vietnam. I hope that it improves sooner rather than later because once the tourists decide not to come back, they usually decide that forever.

  • i ‘ll show one sample of problem happend in Patong . i work as local guide here , oneday while i was walking with my tourist in Patong, they went inside some shop near street. but when they were walking out of shop without buying anything. girl who worked there said” F** K U with them. it was first time i heard by myself. but before i have heard before from tourist something like this. it’s time to do something before we lose all tourist…

  • I do agree with Mr.Cunningham . Phuket these days is slightly different than 5 years ago when I firstly visited and became a permanent resident since then. I think the best solution is like the author mentioned, "These questions will never end if WE don’t start to THINK & DO something for our beloved Phuket." We have to start doing something for our beloved Phuket. Don't just think but THINK & DO! Anyway I have to say 'good blogging' for the author. I do enjoy reading Rungpruhat's articles. It seems like she can spice up many boring articles to be the better and best one. Keep blogging then, I'm keen to read your post!


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