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Phuket Poll: Should tour guides or tourists be charged for coral damage?

Phuket Poll: Should tour guides or tourists be charged for coral damage?

PHUKET: The past few months have seen coral preservation efforts at key tourist dive sites and coral reef attractions for day-trippers in and around Phuket ramped up to the ridiculous and shift target from the tourists themselves to the tour guides and tour companies that lead them.

opinionmarinenatural-resourcesenvironmenttourismpolice
By The Phuket News

Tuesday 28 March 2017, 12:28PM


Should tourists or their guides and tour companies be held responsible for damage to Phuket's coral reefs? Photo: The Phuket News / file

Should tourists or their guides and tour companies be held responsible for damage to Phuket's coral reefs? Photo: The Phuket News / file

The drive began in earnest in late January, when officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket office posted signs at Koh Racha Yai’s three main bays warning tour guides and tourists of the consequences of breaking marine conservation rules. (See story here.)

After a couple of “misunderstandings”, Chinese tourist Huang Yongjia, 35, was caught with two baby Parrotfish in a plastic bottle and was charged and fined B100,000 for his infraction. (See story here.)

Officials tried the same with 53-year-old Russian tourist Olga Smirnova, but as she did not have the B100,000, she spent two nights in police lockup while awaiting trial for feeding bread to fish at Racha Yai. (See story here.)

However, after Ms Smirnova’s dire situation, held legal hostage in Thailand while awaiting trial and sentencing of a token fine for her misdemeanour, officials changed tack and started focusing on tour guides and tour operators.

Nonthasak Marine and one of their guides came into question for allegedly breaking off a piece of coral to kill a sea urchin in front of tourists, a claim the company strongly denies, and an illegal guide now stands accused of standing on corals at Koh Racha. (See stories here and here.)

To this, The Phuket News asks readers in our latest online poll, “Who should be held responsible environmental damage – the tourists who break the rules, or the tour guides and the companies that hire them?”

Responses available are:

QSI International School Phuket

1. Tourists should be held responsible for their own behaviour. If a tourist breaks the rules, he or she is the only one to be held responsible, not the guide.

2. Guides should be held fully responsible, not tourists, as it’s the guide’s job to ensure tourists are safe and do not break environmental-protection laws.

3. Both tourists and their guides should be held responsible, and both should be charged.

To vote in the poll, click here.

The poll will close at midnight Sunday, April 9.

If your preferred response is not available, feel free to add it in the comments below.

To see the results of our previous poll, asking “Should Patong night venues stay open later?”, click here.

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martin@pertinax.asia | 28 March 2017 - 17:23:20

Of course it should be the Tour Guide and the Tour Company who should be fully responsible.
How can i.e. a Chinese Visitor know the rules and regulations in Thailand when they are coming for a 4 days 3 nights stay. The Guide have to inform the Tourist what they can do and not to do.

Kurt | 28 March 2017 - 14:49:20

Thai are so focused/ fascinated by only having thai tour guides.
Ok, I respect that thinking/setting.
But that doubles the thai tour guide responsibility of what his foreign tourist group is doing.
The thai tour guide knows everything what is ok or not ok about his foreign tourist tour group is doing.
When a tourist in his tour group is doing something wrong the thai tour guide should be held ...

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