Survey suggests Phuket tourism environmental damage and prices are too high

Published:  23 Jul at 6 PM
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A survey of expats in Phuket has concluded most respondents consider tourism environmental damage is too high.

The online study, started by a Thai expat student at a Canadian university, has concluded the environmental damage created by the island’s booming tourist trade is too high to be justifiable. The poll ran for just one week and garnered just 800 replies but seemed to mirror a scenario all too familiar in Thailand’s other beachside resort locations. The two questions asked were straightforward – is the cost of living too high’ and ‘is environmental damage from tourism too high’ – with over 80 per cent of replies giving an unequivocal ‘yes’ to both.

The student, Piramon Tisapramotkul, is writing a paper on the sustainability of Phuket’s tourism industry and its effects on the island. He understands the replies are few, but still considers the exercise provides a valuable data source for a controversial subject and is intending to include the survey results in his study as to whether the Thai government should regulate tourism on the island by using policies such as prohibition or tourist taxes. It seems the majority of responders were either tourists or expat residents, as the poll seems to have been conducted at Piramon’s request by the English language Phuket News online.

Whilst it’s difficult without full demographic information to separate out the opinions of expatriates and foreign visitors from those of local people with possibly poor or no command of English, the results still make interesting reading given the high number of those who voted ‘yes’ to the two questions. Respondents who agreed Phuket’s tourism-driven environmental damage is too high totalled 85 per cent of the totals, and the reply to the second question saw the same result. Those who believed environmental damage was acceptable totalled just 12 per cent, with three percent saying the damage was minimal. Similarly on the cost of living question, 85 per cent agreed, three per cent said prices should higher and 11 per cent believe prices are appropriate in comparison with other Thai tourism destinations.
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