China demands crime crackdown
BANGKOK, 22 May 2012: China’s ambassador to Thailand has urged the Thai government to crackdown on illegal tours and cheats or face a decline in travel from this important market.
China’s ambassador to Thailand, Guan Mu, said an increase of Chinese travellers is being matched by a similar increase in fraudulent activity against visitors.
“The government and related authorities must tighten security and safety for tourists visiting Thailand.”
“Besides integration, Thailand has to increase its tourist police and ensure more officers can communicate in Chinese. There should be directions and traffic signs in Chinese, but penalties for cheaters particularly in a popular destination such as Pattaya must be increased.”
Mr Mu said the Chinese government would encourage its citizens to respect Thailand’s laws when they visit, but they needed assurance that the authorities here were doing their part to reduce tourism-related crimes and provide security for visitors.
Thailand enjoyed a positive growth in tourism of 56.88% last year from China (1,760,564 visits up from 1,122,219 visits in 2010).
“In the near future, it is possible that 1% of 1,300 million Chinese population will travel to Thailand that means around 13 million Chinese could visit this country annually,” the ambassador claimed. “Therefore, it is a big market for your tourism industry with potential to grow.”
But he doubts the country has enough facilities to take care of such a big numbers. It would require a massive increase in hotels, transport, airline flights and guides capable of communicating in Chinese. The impact on the environment and heritage assets would also be considerable. Fleets of tour buses parked around the Grand Palace and other historical buildings would paralyse the already crowded streets of the city’s Rattankosin district.
He cited also problems in Pattaya, mainly complaints over unfair services and cheating. The eastern seaboard resort is the most popular destination for Chinese visitors, who combine a short beach holiday with shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok.
For January to April, this year, Thailand welcomed 757,275 Chinese an increase of 23.55% from 612,918 visits during the same period in 2011 according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports data.