BANGKOK: PM admonishes Phuket to stop ripping-off foreign tourists

The two Australian tourists pose with their written complaint about being overcharged by a passenger van for a trip from Phuket airport to a Kata area hotel, at Karon police station in Phuket on Wednesday evening. (Photo supplied)


B3,000 fare

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned that Phuket’s reputation as a tourist destination will suffer if local people do not stop trying to rip-off foreign visitors.

His message was passed on by Werachon Sukondhapatipak, a member of the prime minister’s working team.

Lt-Gen Werachon said the prime minister was aware of a police complaint filed on Wednesday by two Australian tourists that a passenger van driver charged them 3,000 baht for the 50 kilometre trip from Phuket airport to their hotel in Kata area.

The story was shared widely on social media.

Lt-Gen Weerachon quoted Gen Prayut as saying the government was working hard to promote tourism  and make Thailand a world class destination. Phuket’s economy would benefit.

However, if people persisted in taking unfair advantage of foreign visitors it would have a negative impact on the Thai people, Phuket and Thailand, he quoted Gen Prayut as saying.

Pol Maj Techin Deethong-orn, an investigator, contacted the van driver to try and mediate an agreement between the two sides on Thursday.

Prapai Suankool, the head of the Transport Technical Group of Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office,  said that Karon police station and the Transport Technical Group hosted the  meeting, but there had not been any agreement so far.

He said there were many public signs stating the fares for tourists. However, the price depended on the type of vehicle. There were no fixed fares for taxi vans. It was usually up to the drivers and passengers to agree on a rate, he said.

Tourists were normally charged 1,600-2,000 baht for a trip from the airport to the Kata area of Phuket, where the hotel was located, Mr Prapai said.



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