Vol. XI No. 19
Friday 9 May -15 May 2003

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Updated every Friday
by Parisa Santithi

 


LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

TAT needs to attract foreign tourists

Donít have time to pay your fine? Get an MC taxi boy to do it for you

Double pricing is destroying Pattaya

ďPoliticians of Pattaya take noteĒ

Prejudices against foreigners

People getting wary

TAT needs to attract foreign tourists

Editor;

Although it is obvious that the Thai authorities are trying to incorporate some sort of "economy of scale" by lowering prices at tourist attractions for Thai nationals, hoping that through shear numbers they will somehow save the economy, what they obviously donít see is that this would work even better if applied to foreign tourism, which is what brings the large amounts of foreign currency into the country.

Thailand became popular with foreign tourists in the beginning because it was cheaper to spend a holiday here. When prices were low, hordes of tourists flocked to the kingdom and spent tons of money here, and it didnít matter what else was happening in the world. HIV and AIDS were "discovered" long before SARS, with unfortunately much more devastating consequences to those who became afflicted, but still tourists came. Coups didnít keep tourists away. The first Gulf War didnít keep tourists away.

I fear, however, that what will keep (foreign) tourists away is the feeling that they are not wanted, and one of the easiest ways to instill this feeling is to promote state sponsored double pricing. Nothing raises the ire of a person more than the feeling of being cheated. When people see that they are being charged an exponentially larger amount to visit a tourist attraction than the person standing next to them in line, they immediately feel cheated, and the most common response would be to avoid that place.

As we all know, the internet has opened up a whole new world - not only has communication become instant, but people can now also read the local news online. Whereas before, one might not know about such a scheme until after arrival, in todayís world people can read the internet and find out about such things during the planning stages of their holiday. And make no mistake about it, given a choice, tourists will spend their money where they feel they will get the best value, as well as where they will be made to feel welcome. In no way does state sponsored double pricing make a potential tourist feel as though they would be welcomed here.

TAT and the likes may actually gain a small injection of cash into the economy through their current Thais visit Thailand campaign, but it would be minimal to what they would gain if they decided to promote "better value" for foreign tourists instead. Forget about state sponsored double pricing and bring back the "Thailand is still the most inexpensive and safest destination in the world" campaign, all the while making sure to do whatever it takes to ensure the statement is true, and watch how many foreign tourists return.

Paul Millard


Donít have time to pay your fine? Get an MC taxi boy to do it for you

The Editor,

Through your newspaper I wish to bring a couple of traffic matters to the attention of the non-Thai driving community. The intersection of Pattaya Second Road and Pattaya Central Road (heading north) is a trap for young players. The "usual" turn left (with care) at any time through the traffic lights does not hold for this intersection.

I was pulled up for turning left (with care) and the traffic infringement ticket was given to me by the smiling policeman on duty, after removing my ignition key, in case I were tempted to do a runner on my 100 cc step-through. My Thai is poor, and his English not much better, but he did manage to let me know that I would have to go round to Beach Road and pay the fine. When I said that I was in a hurry and didnít want to waste time, the friendly policeman said that if I gave one of the local motorbike taxi boys 50 baht, and the infringement notice and the fine, the boy would handle it all for me.

So there you are, an intersection to be wary of, and a wonderful way of paying your dues. Yes I did use the boy and the policeman issued me with a receipt. That really is service with a smile!

Warily Turning Left!


Double pricing is destroying Pattaya

Hello,

Just to let you know that I am a Pattaya regular and would like you to know that I really enjoy looking at your website every week. It keeps me in touch as to whatís going on there as I live in London. I have been coming to Pattaya for more than 11 years now and have seen a lot of changes; some for the better and some not.

I was just reading you article about the Tiffany show and think its disgusting that they have 2 different prices as well as the baht bus drivers. People like this are really destroying the place which I have loved for years.

I really think that they need to tighten the laws there with things like this and especially the baht bus drivers tearing the stickers regarding the 10 baht local journey. If I was in charge of them I would be very strict and if you were caught with a torn sticker you were taken off the road for a month and if you received more than 3 complaints about you in a month you were taken off the road for 3 months. Iím sure that they would think twice and every tourist would feel much safer and people would know where they stand with it all.

I still love it there though.

Best wishes and keep up the very good work and website.

Regards,

Joey


ďPoliticians of Pattaya take noteĒ

Editor:

While crime, scams, and general unsocial behavior has been on the rise in Pattaya for some time, there seems to be a disturbing trend with Thais putting guns to the heads of foreigners. In other cases there is bodily harm directed specifically at foreigners. I would suggest anyone threatened with bodily harm in Thailand write a detailed letter to their embassy, especially if your country supplies aid to Thailand or has substantial business interest here. Thais may have problems with the concept of law and order, but they understand money. Major countries putting out travel advisories or large business interest leaving Thailand will get the attention of even the most "nationalist" or anti-western Thai politician.

I keep pointing out the problems related to drivers in Pattaya as there is usually a connection with "bad" driving and other types of antisocial behavior. Strict enforcement of traffic laws will, in time, lead to an understanding that all laws have to be obeyed; it sets a tone. Routine traffic enforcement also trends to turn up things like guns and drugs before they do harm. Khai Khem makes some very good points about a lack of education, but zero tolerance enforcement will educate a lot of drivers very quickly.

I also would suggest that all foreigners consider video surveillance for their homes and businesses. Itís amazing how polite and socially correct Thais are in front of cameras. Place a few cameras outside your house and the local mini-mafia actually moves down the street. Apply a little high-tech and amazing things do happen in Thailand.

Donít cut local politicians any slack, Pattaya leaders are aware of the problems here, but they obviously have another agenda. What they are really doing is "killing the golden goose". We all agree, Thais will have to correct Pattayaís problems, all foreigners can really do is write the local papers or when fed up, pack up and leave. (Americans were asked to leave the Philippines a while back - Donít think they will do that again!)

As best I can figure the average European, American, or Japanese living in Pattaya drops between 2 and 3 million baht on the local economy each year. And this is in euros, dollars, and yen which is what keeps the baht from sinking to its "fair market" value. Donít think for a moment that the crime and corruption in Thailand canít crash the baht again. A countryís exchange rate is a vote of confidence by other countries on the stability of that country.

All I have to say is keep doing things the "Thai way" and Pattaya will seem like a 4th world country to all the Thais that live here. The foreigners wonít really notice since they will be either some place else spending their money, or buying up Thailand at 10 cents on the dollar.

Pattaya Bum


Prejudices against foreigners

Dear Sir,

I would like to tell you about my first experiences with the Thai police force. Unfortunately for me I was caught driving a motorcycle without wearing my helmet; ok, ok, I was guilty as charged and I will put my hands up to this offence. Not only was it reckless of me but down right stupid knowing how dangerous the roads in Pattaya are!

The policeman blew his whistle and pulled me over to the side of the road. He asked where I was from, I told him United Kingdom. "Oh Manchester United?" he replied, "Very Good soccer". I agreed with him to win some favour but to no avail. He then continued to write out my fine.

I had to hand in the ticket at the police station. Fortunately for me I can read a little Thai and there is a board above the counter explaining the costs of each fine, wearing no helmet infringed a 200 baht fine.

A 200 baht fine if you are a Thai National that is. For me it was 300 baht. I asked him why? "Because you are a tourist," he replied. I then began to explain to him that I am not a tourist I have been living here for over 2 years. Then the strangest thing happened, he became temporarily deaf. He could no longer here my voice; he just continued to fill out his paperwork and then fined me the 300 baht.

Ok, I admit it was foolish of me to ride my motorcycle without my helmet but this 2-tier payment system is beginning to wear me down. What hope have the "farangs" of having fair treatment if the police are in on it too? Isnít it time this issue was addressed?

Yours Sincerely,

Mr N Dobson


People getting wary

Editor;

Please inform the people in your outstanding newspaper, that they have to take care now in Pattaya. There is little business now. I paid a baht taxi driver with 100 baht, but he didnít give me back 90 baht and he went away. At the market a thief was captured by an angry mob, the police arrested him because he tried to rip a bag from a girl. Take care in the night in the side streets. Today I will give the number of the taxi to the tourist police I hope they will act.

Please inform the residents!

Worried in Pattaya



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