At 9:30am yesterday more than 50 members of the ATGA (Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi) led by Mr Krit Thepbamrung gathered at Provincial Hall to submit their letters to Gov Chockchai Dejamornthan.
Mr Thavornwat Buakaew, acting on behalf of the governor, received the letter and told the group that he will look into the issue.
President of the AGTA, Mr Krit, explained, “In the past our government had an urgent policy and set up a committee to get rid of illegal guides and tour operations. Former Vice Governor Prajiad Aksornthammakul was chief of the committee, but since his retirement the operation seem to have come to a stop.
“Today the number of illegal guides has increased and this has caused stress to those who work legally.
“These illegal guides have no knowledge of the area they take tourists to. Tourists often get wrong information about Phuket from these guides which damages the island’s tourism,” he said.
The ATGA wants Gov Chochchai to resolve this issue fast and are demanding that officials set up a new committee immediately to rid the island of illegal guides.
“Many of us are in distress as officials incorrectly enforce the law, this must be rectified,” Mr Krit added.
Meanwhile, also at 9:30am yesterday, members of the ABTA led by Mr Chonawee Eaktiewsakul arrived at Provincial Hall also to hand a similar letter of complaint to Gov Chockchai and Commander of 41st Military Circle Maj Gen Akom Pongprom asking them to solve the problem of out-of-province buses stealing their jobs.
Mr Chonawee said that since joining Asean, the number of tourists visiting Phuket has increased.
“This created an opportunity for agents and tour companies in Phuket to bring tour buses from other provinces to serve in Phuket.” he said.
“Today, bus operators in Phuket have no jobs, cannot afford to care for our families and our debts are accumulating.
“We want officials to solve this issue fast starting by banning buses from other provinces coming to work in Phuket.
“There are about 1,000 members in the ABTA, but we don’t have any income now because tour companies would rather hire buses from outside of Phuket for a cheaper rate.
“We cannot compete with their fares. We charge about B18,000 for six days, while those outside charge only B14,000. The government should help us settle this,” Mr Chonawee concluded.