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Pattaya Daily News

09 January 2013 :: 12:01:02 pm 70179

New ambassadors discuss issues with Phuket Governor

Three ambassadors – Mark Kent from Britain, Philip Calvert of Canada and Joan Boer of the Netherlands visited Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut, to introduce themselves after their recent appointments to their posts.
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In a relaxed meeting the Governor and the three envoys talked mainly about security and fairness for tourists and residents from their countries.

Ambassador Boer said that the price of taxis in Phuket is higher than in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. The price, he said, does not depend on the meter but on bargaining, which he said he believes is not fair for tourist.

However, Gov Maitree said that he and the Department of Transportation had tried to introduce meter taxis in Phuket but no investor was willing to try to establish such a service. But he said he would talk with the Department again to see if a solution could be found.

The jet-ski issue was also raised, with the ambassadors saying they had heard of cases of jet-ski operators asking for customers’ passports as security against damage.

But the Governor said, “There are no more jet-skis like that. [Jetski operators on] six of our beaches have already been organized by the local government.” He explained that 286 Jet Ski operators around the island had been registered and each machine is now identified with a registration number “so any of them can be investigated and their guilt established”.

“My priority is protecting the security of Canadians,” said Ambassador Calvert. He said he was concerned about violence and crime. Gov Maitree expressed his concern that Phuket still lacks police manpower.

“Almost half of the police in Phuket have been transferred to other places [reducing their numbers] from 1,800 to about 1,000.

“However, yesterday I went to Bangkok to order more CCTV cameras for installation in Phuket, which will be useful,” he added.

The three ambassadors praised the Phuket efforts to bring order to the “black plate” taxis by converting them to green plate, and were also impressed by the increasing numbers of people wearing motorbike helmet.

Gov Maitree told them that he believed the number of tourists coming to Phuket would increase in the next two years.

“It is estimated we will have about 12 million tourists by 2015. Phuket’s strategy is to attract people to fly here, after which they can travel around to neighbouring provinces such as Phang Nga, Krabi or Ranong.

“At the airport, we have staff from the tourist service centre of the Ministry of Tourism & Sports to take care of the tourists. Also, the number of taxis serving the airport has been increased from 370 to 505, all operating on fixed fare scales. I will also arrange for them to be instructed about road safety and being service-oriented.”

At the end of the meeting, Gov Maitree had a private discussion with Mr Calvert about investment in big projects in Phuket.

Gov Maitree said afterwards, “He talked to me about supporting investment from Canada for big projects, because Canada still does not have much business in Phuket.”

Asked about the deaths of two Canadian sisters, Noemi and Audrey Belanger, who were found dead in their room on Phi Phi island on June 14 last year, apparently poisoned, Ambassador Calvert said that because of Canadian privacy laws, he could give out no information.

Credit by : The Phuket News

Category : Thailand News

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