Tourism officials, backed by police and the Royal Thai Navy, will check all tour companies for legal documents while all guides must present their ID and registrations.
If officials come across unlicensed or illegal tour operators, they will have a second chance to come in to the office of Tourism and Sport in Phuket Town to resgister in accordance with the new policy from National Counsel for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Two weeks after the inspection, officials will strictly enforce the new rules to crack down on illegal operation of guides and tour companies. If found guilty, companies will be barred from regist. Foreign tour guides will immediately be arrested, in accordance with the new las that states tourism businesses are reserved for Thai citizens only.
The crack down was planned during a meeting on Thursday (September 4) between Santi Pawai, Registrar of Southern office Tourism Business and Guide Registration (TBGR), Cmdr. Pornprom Sukultem, of Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Naval Area Command, along with local police, Navy troops and officials from Phuket Town.
Records indicate that there are about 1,601 registered tour companies and 4,428 registered tour guides in Phuket, according to the TBGR.
“We want to double check if these numbers still up to date,” Santi said.
Santi confirmed that from now on all tour companies must hire only Thai people as tour guides but admitted that he is aware of the on-going problems of Thai tour guides that charge higher rates to foreigners.
“Different rate of tour price cause the tour companies to seek illegal guides. This is a problem that we will work together with tour companies and guides to find a solution,” Santi said.