Connect with us

Opinion

Phuket Opinion: New ‘guide-lines’ needed for tourism

Published

 on 

PHUKET: One chronic tourism-related problem that periodically bubbles to the surface of the local media here in Phuket is that of illegal foreign guides conducting tours for fellow countrymen.

While the problem was originally mainly centered around illegal Korean guides, its scope has expanded over the past decade due to robust growth in the inbound markets from both Russia and China.

The issue was raised once again at a meeting in Phuket earlier this month, when Phanomphon Thammachartniyom, adviser to the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism, said he had been trying to stamp out the problem for more than 10 years, but to no avail.

In response to claims by the Tourist Police that their investigators had been unable to find any evidence of illegal guides working in Phuket, Mr Phanomphon pointed out quite rightly that: “If you spend three days at some of the popular tourist venues, such as Wat Chalong and Laem Phromthep, you would find a hundred of them.” As any long-time resident of the island is well aware, Mr Phanomphon is right.

From a broader perspective, the illegal guide problem falls squarely into the wide range of “illegal-yet-common” practices in Phuket that can only continue if law enforcement officials are either too lazy to take action, or are “actively encouraged” to look the other way.

While a payoff here and there might seem innocuous enough, especially to those on the receiving end, the cumulative effect of this “culture of corruption” manifests itself as a cancerous growth on our society. Even the environment that sustains us all is at risk, as clearly demonstrated by the vast plunder of our forest reserves at the hands of rich “investors” and the officials whose palms they grease in order to steal these reserves from future generations.

While Thai labor law is notoriously vague in defining what actually constitutes “work”, it is nevertheless quite specific about the circumstances under which foreigners can be issued work permits. Chief among these is “when qualified Thais cannot be found” to perform such work.

The lack of Thai guides with the mastery of Korean, Chinese and Russian languages is clearly demonstrated by the number of illegal guides from these countries in Phuket. But despite this, the “tour guide” profession remains one of the many reserved for Thais under current law.

We suggest that the government consider changing this law to allow qualified foreign guides from these countries – those who have sufficient knowledge of Thai history and culture – to be issued work permits. These guides could then join the ranks of law-abiding, tax-paying foreigners who have done so much to help develop the Thai tourism industry over the years – rather than serving to further enrich corrupt or lazy officials.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 min ago

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla diagnosed with an unfortunate infection

Myanmar27 mins ago

Aung San Suu Kyi receives additional 6-year prison sentence

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Opposition to extending nightlife to 4am

Sponsored7 mins ago

Super luxury villas in Phuket with breathtaking ocean views

Crime15 hours ago

Police officer who shot noodle vender sentenced to 25 years

Road deaths15 hours ago

Truck overturns in NE Thailand, driver dies, losing 1.5 million baht of beer

Transport15 hours ago

Thailand Transport Ministry seeks foreign loans for new bridges

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Central Thailand15 hours ago

Elephant calf stamped to death in central Thailand

Chon Buri16 hours ago

Mountain B Pub’s real owner surrenders while police guard venue

Road deaths16 hours ago

Motorcycle rider killed in multi-vehicle pile-up near Bangkok

Crime16 hours ago

Hong Kong man goes to Thailand to meet ‘lover,’ gets trafficked to Myanmar

Thailand17 hours ago

A monk dies in yet another day of Buddhist shame in Thailand

Economy17 hours ago

Electricity prices soar 18% to 4.72 baht per unit next month

Best of17 hours ago

Top 5 Boarding Schools in Thailand (2022)

Crime17 hours ago

Four national park officials indicted over Karen activist’s murder in western Thailand

Thailand17 hours ago

100 Consecutive Days of food handouts to the homeless of Bangkok

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending