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PHUKET: Major drive to regulate Phuket tour agencies starts this week

PHUKET: Major drive to regulate Phuket tour agencies starts this week

PHUKET: Tour agencies and operators could face a six-month suspension of business if they are found to be contravening regulations, the new head of the Southern Office of Tourism Business and Guide Registration (TBGR) has warned.


By The Phuket News

Monday 25 August 2014, 12:58PM


Tourists board their speedboats after a tour to Koh Kai Nai in Phang Nga Bay.

Tourists board their speedboats after a tour to Koh Kai Nai in Phang Nga Bay.

Santi Pawai – who is also head of the Phuket Office of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports – also warned that officials will next week begin checking the more than 1,500 tour companies in Phuket.

The checks will begin on Thursday (August 28), after tourism business and tour guide representatives have been briefed by Mr Santi’s office at a conference on Wednesday.

“The TBGR Southern Office has never before inspected tour operators in Phuket. Some of them may be doing business they are not registered for,” Mr Santi told The Phuket News.

“If we find any office operating without a license or with an office in a different location from the one on the license, they will be shut down for six months,” he warned.

At the meeting on Wednesday a new body will be launched, the Phuket Tourism Business Association (PTBA) “in order to improve the standards of tour operators in Phuket,” said Mr Santi Pawai.

“After the PTBA has been set up, it will be easy to control the standards and discuss problems, and it will be easier to coordinate with screen tour agencies who want to apply for a tourism license from us. This will ensure that tourists are more fully protected [from cheating or poor service by tour agencies],” he explained.

Also on the agenda will be prices for tours. Mr Santi said that he had discovered that some companies were offering very low-price but low-quality tours.

“This could damage the image of tourism in Thailand. I think we should set standard prices and then tour agencies can compete on quality of service,” he added.

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