As an anonymous Phuket businessman recently pointed out to Phuketwan, commissions are a part of business. But when they rise to 50 percent or beyond, you have to wonder.
On Phuket, the first experience some tourists have is being ''kidnapped'' by van drivers who take them to an agency's premises where attempts are made to sell them accommodation and tours they don't need.
This bad start to a holiday is because Phuket's culture is all about the money. The commission-driven outlook leads to excessive greed.
Tuk-tuks in the Kata-Karon area recently sought to take over from tour companies so they could not only collect the fares but also gain extra commissions.
Commissions are standard these days in many businesses. Those who carry out a connection service deserve to be rewarded.
However, when the commission becomes the reason for the sale, that's a problem. The law in China changed this month for that reason. Package tours from China must now carry a full price.
Before October 1, tour operators would recoup their money on the basis of commissions paid on the sale of tours, goods or other services.
Tourists didn't like it and complained so strongly that the Chinese Government changed the law.
The present multi-million dollar US Navy investigation into dealings with Glenn Marine is all about kickbacks and extra ''commissions'' going into the pockets of a few people with inside knowledge.
As the businessman pointed out to Phuketwan, Phuket's culture becomes unhealthy if commissions grow so large that the commissions become the reason for the deal.
When that happens, holidaymakers simply become the means to making more money. The service mentality disappears out the window.
''Taking these commissions instills a mindset and it reinforces the feeling that this is the normal way of doing business, of ripping everybody off as a way of life,'' the businessman said.
''The tourists don't understand what's happening,'' he added. ''Anyone would be infuriated if they found out there was somebody getting 35 percent commission to bring them there.''
The best idea to have guests treated fairly is to call the outlet in advance to say that the tourists should not be charged commission, but be given a discount instead.
As the businessman points out, the money that tourists save by not covering the commission is likely to be spent on Phuket anyway.
If a business is content to pay a large commission, then the real price is obviously being inflated to account for the cut that goes to the tuk-tuk, taxi or bus driver.
A Phuketwan reporter has been asking Phuket tourism businesses whether they paid commission and these were the responses.
The survey is by no means comprehensive. The honesty of those who responded is appreciated.
The conclusion: commissions form a large part of the income for many Phuket tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, on top of inflated fares, and for many bus drivers, too:
Simon Cabaret, Patong Taxi, tuk-tuk 200 baht per adult, 100 baht per child.
Simon Star Show, Phuket City For adult foreigners, 500 baht per 800 baht ticket Children 500 baht per 700 baht ticket. Tour buses, 300 baht per person, but contact the management first.
Siam Niramit (only VIP seat will get commission price) Platinum seat will earn 400 baht from the ticket price of 1900 baht. Gold seat will earn 300 baht from the ticket price of 1700 baht. Silver seat will earn 200 baht from the ticket price of 1500 baht.
Phuket FantaSea Unwilling to provide information.
Pornthip Souvenir Shop, bypass road Call center said it's not commission,just money for drinks and snacks. Bus tours that have contact with the shop already will get commission.
Island Safari Unwilling to provide information.
Phuket Pearl Factory Call center said that it provides money for car parking, petrol. If a small car, you will get 100 baht or 200 baht for a big car.
Soul of Asia Did not answer call.
Baan Boran Antiques Commission only for a hotel driver.If the tourist spends more than 10,000 baht the driver will get three percent. If you invite a friend to shop, you can ask for commission as well.
Tiger Kingdom visit only one tiger cage, the commission is 300 baht on the 800 baht price; two tiger cages, 500 baht commission on a price of 1400 baht; three tiger cages, 700 baht from the ticket price of 2300 baht; four cages, 1000 baht from the ticket price of 2800 baht; All tiger cages, 1200 baht from the price 3500 baht.
Elephant Trekking Phuket (Five businesses.) No commission price, because their customers get in touch by themselves.
Phuket Zoo Commission on adults, 200 baht, on children, 100 baht.
Phuket Butterfly Garden For adults, 100 baht per person on a ticket price of 300 baht. Foreigners, 150 baht per person on a ticket price of 300 baht.
Patong Boxing Stadium VIP seat, commission of 400 baht on a ticket price of 1800 baht; Ringside seat, you'll get 400 baht on a ticket price of 1500 baht; Stadium seat, 300 baht on a ticket price of 1300 baht.
Chan's Antiques A public relations person said taxi drivers get 10 percent. She added that every Phuket shop pays commissions.