Speaking to The Phuket News today (Dec 22), Ittiput Schadt, Secretary of Go Eco Phuket, said, “We have provided a lot of information such as photos and videos to relevant agencies on tour companies and guides that break environmental laws, but so far our complaints have been ignored. Therefore, we have now taken the matter up direct with the Department of Tourism in Bangkok.
“We sent details of our complaints to Anan Wongbenjarat, Director-General of the Department of Tourism, which comes under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports last week, and have been notified that the Department of Tourism will hold an official meeting next week to discuss the possibility of revoking these bad companies and guides licences,” he said.
“We have had enough, we can no longer stand the ignorance of local officials. Nothing has been done since I presented evidence of the bad practices of these companies and guides, including photos of divers sitting on coral reefs at Racha Yai Island, at Phuket Provincial Hall on Dec 13.
“There were officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket office, Phuket Marine Office and Phuket Provincial officials joined this meeting as they are supposed to be responsible for taking care of the marine environment together.
“However, these officials have given the matter no attention. It is very serious what laws these tour companies and guides ignore, and it is having a very bad impact on the Andaman environment, especially areas at Racha Yai and Racha Noi islands.
“But they do not give the matter any attention,” he said.
“We wish to see officials working better and cooperating with each other. They have to respond better to conservation issues and try harder to enforce their own laws,” Mr Ittiput added.