Erect Chinese signs, teach cops language, ambassador says


China’s ambassador suggested Pattaya officials erect signs in Chinese and train police officers to speak the language if they want to retain the trust of visitors from the mainland.

Guan Mu, in a meeting with Tourism Authority of Thailand and local-government officials May 18, said Chinese should be added to English, Thai and Russian messages on posters, warning signs and directions in tourist areas and hotels “to prevent tourists from being tricked, cheated and robbed.”

The meeting between the ambassador and TAT, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Banglamung District Chief Chawalit Saeng-Uthai came in response to repeated complaints by Chinese tourists about “free” package tour scams, jet ski rip-offs, food poisoning and marine accidents.

“All these problems are faced by Chinese tourists in Pattaya, but luckily, all have been dealt with professionally,” Guan said. “For that reason, Chinese tourists still have confidence in tourism in Thailand.”

However, he added, to retain that trust police officers should be given lessons in Chinese in order to speak to tourists more easily.

The Chinese continue to rank as Thailand’s top tourism group with arrivals in 2012 expected to hit two million for the first time. For the first three months of the year, arrivals are up 23.6 percent from 2011. Last year’s arrival of 1.73 million was an increase of 56 percent over 2010, when political riots crippled tourism across the board.

For Pattaya alone, 1.2 million visited the city in 2011, up 785,553 from strife-dampened 2010. Total tourists to the city last year were seven million with Chinese ranking second only to Russians and a notch ahead of Indians.