CHALONG: Deputy Prime Minister Pongpol Adireksarn today voiced concern over local attitudes that he said threaten to damage tourism. Speaking before leaving on an inspection tour of the Phi Phi islands, he said, “I wanted to go to Phi Phi because we’ve been advertising it a lot, but once tourists get there they are disappointed. “Patong is the same,” he said. “I first came to Patong 20 years ago. It was very beautiful then, but now it’s changed. I have received a lot of complaints about transport services that overcharge foreigners. This is not right. It destroys Phuket tourism. If people are still doing this, it’s like they are committing suicide.” However, he said that he was pleased with the quality of the new Chalong pier, which he officially opened today. In a speech at the opening ceremony, he said, “Phuket is a world-class destination, so its facilities have to be high quality too. I’m happy to see the pier today. It is beautiful, it is of an international standard and it is able to serve a large number of tourists.” Tomorrow, K. Pongpol will chair a workshop on tourism at the Sheraton Grand Laguna Phuket. “The aim of this workshop is to solve the problems of important tourism destinations, especially Phuket and the surrounding provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi,” he explained. “We want to combine these provinces to become a center for tourism and call the area ‘Greater Phuket’,” he added.
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