Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Traveling fees in Phuket

Just had a chance to travel to Phuket during the weekend as I've been invited as guest speaker at the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism. Upon arrival, I noticed this display while waiting for my bags, it shows the transportation fee from Phuket airport to various destinations around the island. My first reaction was, "this is insane!, very expensive.", well comparing it to the cost of living per day in Thailand where you can easily live by with 100-200Baht. Luckily, my trip into the city was arranged by my colleague, so a few bucks was saved there but still my curiosity remains.

During my trip back to the airport, I had a very informative conversation with the chauffeur, according to his story, Phuket has grown to be a town of mafias and gangsters in terms of transportation and logistics. Things like area coverage or rights to drive or operate are managed by a handful of gangsters, including the airport itself. A tuk-tuk driver can easily make over 3,000 baht a day despite he starts late in the afternoon. The system operates in a way that the tuk-tuk owner get 50/50 revenue sharing!

The government's effort regarding this issue was blocked by protesters previously when the governor asked a group of researchers to study the feasibility of building mass railway transport between the airport and the city, they even survey the routes and budget required, no news of this was found in national media.

IMO, If Phuket wants to expand its tourism by getting more tourist, transportation and logistic would definitely been the catalyst, many examples could be seen in famous tourist cities like Hong Kong, Singapore which also has a island geography type like Phuket.

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