operators acknowledged that Thailand's
popularity is on the rise and that it still remains a favorite regional
destination, but they say problems in the Kingdom remain widespread and stand
to hurt tourist sentiment.
include political uncertainty, cheating practices among service operators and
illegal taxi drivers who not only charge higher fares but also behave badly
with foreigners. Some operators are calling on the government to find solutions
for this before the country loses its good image.
operators from India, Russia and China were speaking at Thailand
Travel Mart Plus 2012 held by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) last
week. More than 473 tour agencies from 60 countries participated in the event.
director of New Delhi-based Samaara Travels, said the Kingdom remained popular
as a holiday destination, with the number of Indians coming to Thailand rising
annually thanks to a booming economy. Last year alone, his firm brought 4,000
Though the most
popular destinations are Bangkok
and Pattaya, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and Phuket are also catching up. Most
travelers from India
come here for the nightlife, shopping and leisure activities, with travel
packages costing at least 15,900 baht (US$500) for about six to seven nights on
Whig said his
clients complained about having trouble with local service operators,
especially from criminal gangs in Pattaya. For instance, he said, tourists rent
jet skis from local operators but end up paying large amounts for damage that
they have allegedly made to the equipment. He said these jet-ski operators
worked hand-in-hand with the tourist police. He also complained about illegal
taxi drivers harassing tourists at Suvarnabhumi
Liu Feng, CEO of
Yunnan Comfort Tourism Group, said his company's biggest problem was that local
operators did not provide services according to the agreements signed. He said
the government should set service standards.
TAT has been
working hard to standardize the tourism industry by classifying the quality of
service provided by local operators, ranging from food to hotels. It is most
likely that local operators might have downgraded their services, resulting in
them breaking their agreements with the Chinese tour operators, a source said.
Last year, his
company brought 100,000 Chinese tourists to Thailand and this number is
expected to grow by 5 to 10 percent. The major destinations for Chinese
tourists are Bangkok
and Pattaya, with Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi fast catching up.
Ksienia, manager of Primoravtotrans based in Moscow, said the biggest problem her clients
faced was the lack of information in the Russian language, which prevented them
from exploring new places in the country. She said most tourists from Russia booked two-week package tours to Thailand, Singapore
and many visited the Kingdom to enjoy the beaches. (nvn)