The Phu Quoc versus Phuket debate was picked up by the Phuket Gazette, and generated considerable comment and argument at Teak Door, a forum for ex-pats in Thailand.
One poster, Beadle, complained: “The Vietnamese are nowhere near as friendly as the Thais and the rip-offs will start from the moment you get off the plane and continue until you leave.” Rooting for Phu Quoc, Bower from the UK argued: “Vietnam has every chance of taking the quality tourists from Thailand, at least in Vietnam you don’t get accosted by drunken ex-pats who want to moan about the place, the people etc.”
Phu Quoc is indeed taking off as a major travel destination in Asia. The Vietnamese Government is sparing no expense in ensuring that this happens. The China Global Times reported, with some alarm, that Vietnam has launched a US$8.5 billion economic and defense development plan for a string of islands in the South China Sea stretching from Phu Quoc in the southwest to Cat Ba island, off Haiphong in the north. Some of the islands included territory claimed by China.