Wishing you all a
Happy, Healthy & Safe New Year
2015 proved a difficult year for us at C & D, with turnover dropping a whopping million baht ! There were some bright spots through the year, but a brutal Low Season took it's toll.
I'm quite sure "Western" tourism was well down, particularly in Phuket, where we saw some really incredibly inept management of the island's economy. A dubious scheme to rid the beaches (the jewel in our crown) of private profiteering might have been well-intentioned, but ended up descending into farcical 10% zones and suchlike, but leaving the obviously well connected jetski and parasail thugs untouched. With a change of Governor, i'm hoping some commonsense will return.
Thailand seems to have concentrated on just making up the numbers by welcoming the chinese shortstayers, rather than trying to woo back the wealthier western customers. Coupled with a drought and a dropoff in commodity prices, Thailand's economy is in a pretty dire situation. The military's inertia regarding the plight of ordinary thais shows their lack of expertise. Letting major manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic move their production out of Thailand whilst actively discouraging replacement industries in, doesn't bode well. The burying of heads in the sand regarding the appalling record of aviation maintenance, leading to an American ban, and some terrible publicity for the fishing industry hasn't helped either!
Rather than just writing a song about togetherness, and locking people up for "attitude adjustment", Herr General should be banging heads together to kickstart the economy and get some of the ineptocracy and corruption out of the system.
Tourism has supposedly been the one "bright spot", but sheer number of arrivals doesn't necessarily mean it translates into hard cash for ordinary people in the food chain. Encouraging westerners back with a smile would be a good place to start, coupled with the correct type of "attitude adjustment" rather than a vague "return to Thainess", whatever that's supposed to mean!
Elsewhere, with terrorism (everywhere) and currency fluctuations playing their part (yes that's you, Australia!) it was a tough old year for everybody.
However, i am optimistic for us in 2016. Despite a stagnant Europe, America, and to a lesser extent the UK, is appearing to be on the road to recovery. And with many tourism destinations, such as North Africa, taking a hit from the terrorism threat, we may yet see an upturn of these visitors to our shores. I certainly hope so. Australians will get used to a slightly lower exchange rate too.
This is just my simplistic take on the current situation, and i don't profess to be any sort of economist.
As far as our "scene" is concerned, we've seen many changes in 2015, with bars opening and closing. But overall we still seem to be in a much better place than all those me-too girly bars. Long may we survive! And with your continued support, i see no reason why not. Thailand still appears to be almost unrivalled when it comes to ladyboys.
Thank you again for your support last year - now let's get on and enjoy 2016 !