A limousine service operating at Phuket Airport has been fined 180,000 baht for taking passengers to tour shops while en route to their hotels or other destinations. It has been a well-known scam for decades where taxis and limos take detours to their ‘brothers’ hotel, gem factories or souvenir shops (where they get huge commissions).
Phuket tourist police say the detours are a violation of the terms governing the company’s concession to operate at the airport. The authorities have also requested that the offenders’ driving licences be suspended.
The Phuket News reports that the company was visited by Krit Warit, Commander of Tourist Police Region 3, on Tuesday this week. According to the report, the limo service in question is the Phuket Airport Limousine and Business Service Co-Operative. The firm’s office is located just south of the airport.
The visit follows inspections at 19 different sites on the island, including taxi and minivan kiosks, according to the Phuket News article. Officials are clamping down on the unrequested tour shop stops, a practice that continues to blight the island’s image. A longstanding agreement between taxi drivers and shops means that drivers receive commission on any purchases made.
Krit also led a meeting with various officials at Phuket Airport on Tuesday. The meeting was called to discuss ways to improve tourist confidence in the island and was attended by the chief of the Phuket Tourist Police, the Chief of Immigration at the airport, chief of Sakhu Police and the GM of Phuket Airport, Monchai Tanode
According to the Phuket News, the aim of the meeting was described as “to integrate and find a solution to the problem of tourists being taken advantage of and not providing convenient service when using tour counter services and the use of public transport vehicles at Phuket International Airport”.
SOURCE: The Phuket News