PHUKET: Vice-governor Vinai Buapradit chaired a meeting of high-ranking officials, tour guides and tourism industry representatives on Friday to discuss the problem of tour guides who damage Phuket’s tourism. At the meeting, K. Vinai highlighted the importance of the issue, saying, “The problem with tour guides is important because they represent 60 million Thais. “I’ve asked everybody here today to respect their occupation’s code of conduct and not to abuse the privileges their work gives them. To do so could affect the nation’s image and reputation.” K. Vinai also called for people to look out for illegal activities by guides and to act on them. “If you see something wrong, let me know immediately,” he said, adding that he may be called at the Vice-governor’s office at Provincial Hall (Tel: 076-212730). Wiriya Kerdphol, Director of Legal Affairs for the Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office, backed K. Vinai’s call for tour guides to behave better, calling for them to respect the trade’s regulations, especially the card system, which regulates where tour guides may operate. With respect to the trade’s code of conduct, he issued the following call: “Be careful when explaining the nation, religion and the King. Don’t abandon your clients, or rape or take liberties with women, and don’t sexually harass tourists. This is very important because it’s punishable by law and creates a bad image for tour guides.” Pol Maj Gen Sanit Miphan, Commander of Thailand’s Tourist Police, vowed to deal firmly with illegal guides operating in Phuket. “When I was promoted to this position, I called the Chairman of the Professional Guide Association of Thailand and asked him, ‘How can I help you?’ He replied, ‘Arrest illegal guides for me.’ “So far, in two months, we have arrested 230 illegal guides and tour operators.”
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