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Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada makes a point at the meeting

Phuket Tackles Jet-Skis, Touts as Envoys Back Tourist Complaints

Thursday, July 12, 2012
PHUKET: Ambassadors met in Bangkok yesterday aiming to make Phuket a safer destination as authorities and police on Phuket discussed ''the small island with big problems.''

The words belong to Phuket Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada who chaired the Phuket meeting about the same time as diplomats met with the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to urge Thai authorities to clamp down on extortion and scams.

Australian ambassador James Wise, who said on Phuket last month that the summit was coming, joined the ambassadors of Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Britain in meeting Suwat Sidthilaw.

On Phuket ''commonly used scams involve local operators demanding extensive cash payments from tourists for allegedly damaging jet-skis or tricking visitors to pay through the nose for poor quality gemstones,'' the National News Bureau of Thailand reported.

At Provincial Hall in Phuket City, yesterday's meeting was told by Assistant Director Wanapharar Suksombul from the Tourist Authority of Thailand that time-share touts have replaced jet-ski scammers as the most-complained-about topic by Phuket tourists.

The TAT now plans to establish offices all over Phuket to hear what tourists have to say, she said. Offices would be set up in Patong, Kata, Kamala and at the new Phuket City bus terminal, she said.

Vice Governor Jamleran said scams and other problems associated with tourism needed to be wiped out on Phuket before the next high season.

At one stage he asked for a call to be made to Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5,who vanished from the meeting.

''You have to make an action plan and tell us what you can and can't fix,'' Vice Governor told Khun Phuripat on his return.

''I accept the order,'' Khun Phuripat said, accepting that there were issues that needed to be clarified, then bringing laughter as he added ''but now it's lunchtime already.''

Jet-ski Association president Anusorn Saley said that even he was puzzled by Khun Phuripat's decision to increase the number of places on Phuket where jet-skis can be legitimately used to include Naka Island.

[Jet-skis continue to be operated illegally at Surin and Laem Singh beaches without action being taken.]

An insurance scheme had failed to resolve the jet-ski scams, said Phuket Police Deputy Commander Colonel Pirayut Karajedi.

He said it was time that jet-ski operators paid increased levels of coverage to make sure they no longer needed to dispute payments with tourists.

Insurance should cover the time that jet-skis were out of the water - often the payment that jet-ski operators demanded, above and beyond insurance coverage.

He said jet-ski operations were a lucrative business and the hirers could afford to pay for more insurance.

He added that jet-skis should operate from a central point at Patong beach where a large sign should be placed in several languages spelling out conditions of hire.

[Phuketwan has suggested taking this one step further and operating the jet-skis from an offshore patoon, as happens on Boracay in the Philippines, one reason why it is rated ''the world's best beach.'']

Jet-ski Association president Khun Anusorn said he was surprised to hear that there were now 289 jet-skis on Phuket when his association's figures revealed 219 just two years ago.

The Bangkok meeting of ambassadors is expected to continue to apply pressure for change on Phuket, where another top-level meeting will be scheduled next month.

Comments

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If you want coverage for lost income from an insurance company, you have to show how big your income is, and that can only be done by showing how much you pay in tax !!
So they would never could get covered lost of income from an insurance company !
They should actually all be busted on tax fraud !!!!!!!
Or even better just be banned, as no one can ride a jetski without a Thai Captain license, so it is all ilegal what is going on !!!!!!

Posted by karsten on July 12, 2012 18:52

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If there is a law requiring resorts to pay the service charge to staff which they steal each month, it would be a huge improvement for the island... for the nation.

Posted by J on July 12, 2012 20:22

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As usual the blame being moved over onto the foreigners again. Which is in itself is understandable considering the locals witness foreigners scamming other foreigners every day with timeshare and drug deals .I worked timeshare in Phuket and know that most of these 'Timescam' touts would never pass a urine test, same goes for all the party touts selling drink tickets for bars.

Getting rid of this scamming/dealing pack would be a big step in the right direction to restoring Phuket to its former glory.

Posted by Peter on July 13, 2012 10:24

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@ Karsten:
Thai Captain license, only a Thai need one, as long 'you' drive it on private purpose!
Non thai would need the 'own country rule regulated license', like for cars and scooters.
But not in the moment, they hire a scooter. Because it would simple stop cash flow, the law does not ask the owner, to check driving licenses. Some years ago, there was a report about, to try to change this. But no chance! It's in the responsibility of 'you', to have a valid one, for the case , police is requesting it, or you have an accident.
And, like we all know it for scooters/cars: You don't have one, you pay a fine at the police station, and 'get one', valid for the day, or up to 2 weeks (up2the province / area): The receipt of your fine payment!

Posted by ??? on July 13, 2012 14:01


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