Phuket’s tourism chief is optimistic about the future of his sector.Chanchai Doungjit, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office, said the island’s tourism is characterized by “quality.” But Chanchai, who recently took the director post after almost 30 years with the authority, points out issues that must be addressed.
“The major problem we see in Phuket tourism today is the declining quality of the island’s tourist attractions,” Chanchai said, referring to low standards of service, fraud and encroachments on the beaches.
“If the products that are integral to the draw of Phuket’s tourism have problems, then it’s like we are lying to our guests when we try to sell them a good image of the island,” he said.
Phuket is successful in attracting the “wealthy and healthy” tourist sector, he said. But he also sees the potential to become a wedding, honeymoon, and golf tour destination.
The key, he said, is to ensure “quality tourism” in which visitors would want to return to Phuket. To achieve this, tourism authorities must face up to the challenges.
“Phuket’s good image has recently been discredited by bad news,” he said. “But the bad news is actually fact, so we shouldn’t make excuses; instead, we should focus on preventing the sources of the problems.”
Chanchai emphasized the importance of attracting “quality tourists.” He said he has been trying to expand volunteer tourism and lure groups from luxury cruises.
“This island should welcome all kinds of tourists,” he said. “Essentially the tourists’ quality is in their positive impression of Phuket.”