Santi Pawai, Chief of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport’s Phuket office, levelled the warning at a meeting with 65 Chinese tour operators from Phuket and Phang Nga yesterday (Apr 9).
“Chinese tour operators have been warned about illegal tour guides and inappropriate behaviour by tourists’. We have given you the opportunity to get it right for quite some time,” Santi told those present at the meeting.
“From today on, any company found still using illegal guides will face immediate license suspension."
“Also, any tour guides who dress inappropriately and not in accordance with the dress code set out in the guidelines given will have their guide permit seized one the spot,” he added.
Mr Santi told the tour operators that they must provide their tourists with tour programmes or brochures that include information about traditions, culture and art of Phuket and Phang Nga, so the tourists can be aware of Thai customs and act appropriately.
“This Songkran we expect more than two million Chinese to arrive in the area. Tour companies must strictly follow tourism rules and regulations – or else,” he warned.
“Tourists in your care must be monitored and advised of any misbehavior that might cause public nuisance or damage our tourism image.
“If our office receives a complaint or a notification from police about inappropriate behavior by Chinese tourists, the tour company and guide will be held responsible.”
The degree of punishment for transgressions will vary according to the nature of the incident, Mr Santi added.
“Less serious incidents may incur only a warning or license suspension, but if the incident is really bad, I will order the company to be shut down,” he said.