Connect with us


Opinion: The never-ending battle to protect Thai tourism



PHUKET: The recent arrest of a businessman for allegedly faking a Thai national identification card is just the latest development in the seemingly never-ending battle to protect the Thai tourism industry from illegal foreign opportunists.

Thai authorities are, of course, correct to prosecute, to the full extent of the law, any foreigner who would resort to forgery in an attempt to carve out a slice of the lucrative Thai tourism pie. We hope, however, that future enforcement as it pertains to guides adheres to the true intent of the law – otherwise it could serve as a high-capacity vehicle for extortion, collusion and nationalist-driven folly.

As has often been pointed out in this space over the years, existing Thai Labor Law is intentionally vague when it comes to defining what exactly constitutes work. The modern classic ‘Working of Alien Act (2008)’ defines work as follows: exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not for wages or other benefits.

Indeed, under such a sloppy definition, one could easily run afoul of the Act simply by getting out of bed in the morning, or, in the more specific case of ‘guiding’, by simply directing a spatially-confused foreigner to the nearest bank, bus stop or brothel.

Fortunately, reports of authorities taking undue advantage of the absurd wording of the Act have been fairly few and far between. However, a few high-profile cases, such as the arrest of volunteers here to assist in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami disaster and the arrest of a foreigner caught ‘red-handed’ working on a boat in his own backyard, serve to remind all of our friends in the expat community just how tenuous day-to-day life can be in Thailand – especially if one has managed to rub someone in a position of authority the wrong way.

Of course, with each emerging inbound market, there are corresponding outcries from legally-registered guides who see their turf, quite literally, being encroached upon. First, it was the South Koreans. Then the Russians. Now we are seeing similar whining over the mainland Chinese, who comprise the greatest, and final, frontier of Phuket tourism.

We hope that the government at senior levels will continue to reduce the number of instances in which their more junior officers abuse the law for their own personal benefit, at the expense of Thai tourism and the country’s long-challenged image overseas.


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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Bangkok Travel7 hours ago

Ari All Link is a must-attend skill-up workshop for Ari people

Cannabis News10 hours ago

Anutin responds to photo of cannabis smoking kids on Pattaya Beach

Education10 hours ago

Thai student allegedly raped by Hyderabad U professor

Sponsored16 hours ago

Marketing in Thailand as a Foreigner: Volume #3 The Marketing Noises

Tourism10 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 6,730 flights in December

Tourism11 hours ago

Thailand tourism predicted at 80% of pre-Covid in 2023

Transport13 hours ago

Bangkok airport expansion prepares for bidding war

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime13 hours ago

Child Protection Foundation leader faces child labour charges

Road deaths13 hours ago

Red-Bull hit-and-run prosecutor dismissed

Transport14 hours ago

Phuket flight cancellation due to earlier cancelled flight, runway maintenance

Election14 hours ago

Pheu Thai Party under fire as Tuhao-Shinawatra connection exposed

Video15 hours ago

THAIGER PODCAST | Ep.14 Saving Thai cats one paw at a time

Tourism16 hours ago

Bullets-in-bag Israeli given 18 months in Thailand

Video1 day ago

Thailand News Today | 9 year olds smoke cannabis on Pattaya Beach in Thailand

Economy1 day ago

Thai baht soars to six-month high against US dollar

Pattaya1 day ago

Motorcycle taxi riders rally against unlicensed ride-share app drivers in Pattaya

Thailand1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years 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