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China's Ambassador Visiting Phuket to 'Complain,' Says Governor

Friday, May 24, 2013
PHUKET: Twenty Ambassadors from Europe are visiting Phuket next month but China's Ambassador will be here first, arriving next Wednesday to discuss tourism safety and security.

His Excellency Guan Mu is coming to Phuket to ''complain,'' Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud told a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City yesterday, using the English word.

The governor said the ambassador wished to discuss jet-skis, tuk-tuks Immigration ''and so on.''

He also said the 20 European Union ambassadors or their senior representatives would be gathering on Phuket on June 14-15.

The same issues are likely to be raised at both meetings. Some issues have come to the fore as Chinese tourists have begun to travel to the Phuket region in numbers.

As they are poorer swimmers than the Europeans and less likely to have used a snorkel, tour operators need to pitch their level of care to suit travellers unused to the water.

Environmental issues have also altered with the arrival of more Chinese tourists.

They are inclined to not yet be aware to leave behind only their footprints, tending to drop cigarette butts in areas of natural beauty and break off pieces of coral as souvenirs.

Both the Europeans and the Chinese remain targets for jet-ski scams and for extortionate tuk-tuk and taxi fares, although only the Chinese charter flights that arrive in the early morning are allegedly being subjected to an illegal ''tax'' at Phuket International Airport's Immigration counters.

Governor Maitree said that Phuket Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin will meet China's Ambassador while he will adress the ''complaints'' of the European ambassadors.

Comments

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Isn't it very undiplomatic for a Governor not to meet an Ambassador?

Posted by helen on May 24, 2013 12:22

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I hope Ambassador Guan Mu will be very vocal and persistent in his complaints. It's time to make it clear to Phuket authorities that empty promises and window dressing will not be accepted anymore.

Real, firm and immediate action is needed or otherwise Embassies start issuing official travel warnings relating to long standing Phuket safety and scam issues.

Phuket authorities have proven time and time again that if they can get away with empty promises, that's exactly what they will deliver.

Only a fool would accept such promises at this stage and I'm sure none of the Ambassadors or Consuls are fools or want to be seen as such.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 24, 2013 12:25

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@Helen, Undiplomatic, yes, but I'd put money on it that the Governor is trying hard NOT to be available. On a more positive optimistic note, this is his chance to shine on the international stage by actually doing something that the Ambassadors ask.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 24, 2013 12:38

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Is this event open to all ?

Posted by Wonder on May 24, 2013 12:57

Editor Comment:

No.

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This could be very interesting. The Chinese tour market, unlike the very independent european one, is very much controlled by state entities. All large outbound tour operators in China are fully or partly state owned/controlled. It's very much a case of "turning the tap" on or off when it comes to tourism to different places, this has happened many times before. If the powers that be decides Phuket is not safe, then the herds of chinese tourists just won't come, because the tour companies will immediately start offering other places to visit, on the behest of the chinese authorities.

Posted by christian on May 24, 2013 13:04

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Christian

You make an excellent point. This is precisely what the Chinese government did after the Spratly Islands dispute with the Philippines. They told operators to stop selling tours to Philippines and virtually all complied. As a result tourist arrivals in Phils plummeted. They went even further and started to slap additional conditions on exports from Phils, like Bananas.
Time for Ambassadors to show they, unlike Phuket authorities, are NOT all talk and NO action.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 24, 2013 14:42

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I hope all the Ambassadors will travel around Phuket safely and not at ridiculous high speeds behind Police escorts like the VIP's on the island today.
One of these days there will be a big accident!

Posted by G Horne on May 24, 2013 15:52

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G Horne,
Very good point. Unfortunally all the representatives will be treeted like Big VIPs and they will hardly have to deal with the transportmob outside and inside the airportarea. They never have to take a minibus to stop outside a travelagency, one who sell rooms with the explanation that the driver need to know where to drop the customers.When the drivers come to the villages they have no clue of the hotel. Strange. The representatives do not have to pay 1300 bath to Patong, for example. They will never be near of the ripoffs and will never know that the same distance with a taxi from suvarnabhum costs 350 bath.

Posted by One Expat 13 years on May 24, 2013 18:05

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Despite all the comments above I am optimistically confident that the Ambassadors are fully aware of what goes on in Phuket - don't forget their consuls and honorary counsuls have feet on the ground and will have made them fully aware of what goes on and the issues of concern. They won't be taken in by the rose tinted glasses tour that will be laid on for them.

Realistically though I will not speculate as to the results of the visit although to be honest it's a foregone conclusion.

Posted by Mister Ree on May 25, 2013 09:06

Editor Comment:

Indeed. Other readers just don't get it.

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Well I am glad the chinese are not just concerned with touting their business here and pussyfooting around the huge issues for fear of offending the powers that be. Time for the powers that be here to be pushed around a bit to conform to what is internationally reasonable. I hope the Europeans will take note of the bull in the Chinashop and take herd[sik] rather than continue to subject themselves to the ignominious trampling they submit themselves to for fear of upsetting someone.

Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2013 21:22


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