PHUKET, 30 September 2015: Jet ski operators will be free to continue scamming tourists on Phuket beaches this high season, according to a report in yesterday’s Phuket Gazette.
The newspaper quoted Phuket Governor, Nisit Jansomwong, saying jet skis would still be available at specific zones on the island’s popular beaches.
His decision will disappoint the travel industry on the island, which was hoping for a stronger response from the governor to end decades of scams and accidents attributed to the rental of jet skis.
Apart from causing noise and air pollution at the beach, the owners of jet skis are often accused of ripping off tourists, usually claiming they damaged the jet ski during the rental period. CCTVs showed jet ski owners assaulting tourists who refused to pay inflated charges to pay for alleged damage claims.
Russian tour operators threatened to end all tours to the island.
But the jet ski scams continued and the latest lenient response from the governor is likely to prompt further damage to the island’s reputation during the coming peak season. The island is already losing its glitter and charm in the Australian travel market, partly due to scams and unrealistic pricing of travel services and hotels.
Commenting on the opposition to jet skis the governor told Phuket Gazette: “I am aware that a lot of people do not want jet-skis on our beaches, as they have caused many issues in the past. However, some tourists still expect to be able to partake in this extreme sport while on holiday in Phuket.”
However, a poll that ran for four weeks, earlier this year, on the Phuket Gazette website showed that 75% of all respondents – including tourists – voted against jet-skis saying they have no place anywhere on any Phuket beach.
The survey attracted 6,362 votes, including nearly 3,000 tourists who were asked: ‘Should jet-ski operators be allowed to operate on Phuket’s beaches?’
Only 5% of the tourists who responded voted, ‘Yes, they provide an activity that many tourists enjoy’, while a further 18% called for better regulations.