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When an island is not an island

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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When an island is not an island | Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Is Phuket an island? This was the difficult question that Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi was asked to rule on this morning after more than 70 Thai tour guides came to his office to protest against the arrests of two of their colleagues by the Tourist Police. The two guides were arrested after it was found they possessed only “yellow cards”. These cards require less by way of qualifications and limit their holders to working only on islands or along the seashore. The two were arrested at Laem Phrom Thep, which, according to the police, is neither. The guide protest, led by Panomphol “Peace” Thummachartniyom, President of the Phuket Professional Guide Association, argued that Phuket is an island, so yellow-card guides should be allowed to work at Laem Phrom Thep or, indeed, anywhere in the province. Gov Pongpayome asked Prajuap Tangka’aree, Registrar of the local branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, to join the negotiations. After three hours – during which the topic of illegal foreign guides was also discussed – the Governor delivered his decision. “Phuket is an island,” he said, “so Thai guides with yellow cards may work anywhere in Phuket, not only at the seaside or along the shore, but also in Phuket Town.” He promised to send letters to the Tourist Police and Phuket Town Police Station informing them that they should not arrest yellow-card guides. He added, however, that he felt yellow-card guides need to upgrade their skills, particularly in languages. He suggested that workshops be organized to this end.

 

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