Industry hopes for action on bribery
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Industry hopes for action on bribery

The bustling atmosphere of Nana Plaza, a night-time entertainment venue in Bangkok.
The bustling atmosphere of Nana Plaza, a night-time entertainment venue in Bangkok.

Tourism operators hope the government can work to remove bribery in the industry, notably in night-time entertainment venues and the tour guide business, although the problem is not as severe as in other industries, says the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

Chamnan Srisawat, president of the TCT, said all issues should be put on the table as some night-time entertainment venues regularly pay bribes to stay open beyond the mandatory closing time of 2am.

In addition, some foreign tour guides bribe officials to work with tour groups.

Mr Chamnan said related authorities should design specific zones in cities popular with tourists allowing entertainment venues to stay open late.

He said foreign tour guides can be prevented by training more Thais and offering lower fees, thus increasing the number of legal guides in the system.

Some Chinese tourists paid for "VIP" police escorts at airports, which was exposed earlier this year.

Mr Chamnan said these situations reflect how foreign tourists want more convenience during their trips, similar to passengers upgrading their flights to business or first class.

Based on this assumption, authorities should offer an official fast-track service, where foreign tourists can pay extra to use priority lanes in airports, expanding the concept to other transport hubs and attractions in Thailand, he said.

Airports of Thailand said it already launched a mobile application that includes fast-lane services, costing around 2,500 baht per person.

Mr Chamnan said the most critical concern for the tourism industry is taxis, which overcharge passengers at airports and elsewhere.

He said all taxi services should be regulated under the same digital booking applications, which can calculate the estimated fare and additional surcharges before passengers take a ride.

This method could help build consumer confidence and prevent any possible crimes or scams, said Mr Chamnan.

Once a new government is formed, he said TCT is ready to work with any party, aiming for tourism development to be promoted as a national agenda item.

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