By The Thaiger
Tourist police, soldiers and the Tourism Business and Guide Southern Division 2 have descended on 10 tour companies in the Wichit and Phuket Town, based in the Phuket Villa 3, Panason, Phuket Villa Dawroong and Soi Poonphon.
Chief of the Tourism Business and Guide Athiphong Sangsin said: “We have randomly checked tour companies to make sure that they are operating their business legally.
“We checked some Chinese tour companies which remain the main tourism feeder market for Phuket. We have received many reports and complaints about tour companies, especially illegal Chinese tour guides. ‘Zero-baht tours’ have been decreasing after we have continued to take action against them,” Sangsin said.
A zero-baht tour company is one that has very low upfront costs for Chinese travellers in Phuket, usually at or below the actual cost.
But when tourists arrive in Phuket they are dragged around many compliant jewellery and clothing shops, markets and tours businesses who pay the operators up to 50 per cent commission on top of their already over-the-top prices.
The tourists also stay in Chinese-owned hotels and eat at Chinese-owned restaurants so Thais make little or no money from the tours.
“There are 20,000 tour companies in Phuket that are legally operating their businesses,” Sangsin added.