Tourism Min meets with foreign embassies on tourist protection measures

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Bangkok, 01 July 2013 Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Phureesrisak had invited representatives of 14 European embassies in Bangkok to a meeting to discuss various forms of threats faced by their respective nationals when visiting Thailand, with an aim to boost confidence on tourist safety. 

The minister told reporters after the meeting that frequent threats to tourists included, among others, snatch and run thefts, overcharging for jetski and motorcycle rentals, and getting mugged or physically assaulted by illegal taxi drivers.

The minister said that the meeting placed emphasis on practical preventive measures by assigning provincial transport offices to deal with extortion by rental companies and illegal taxi operators. Mr. Somsak said that the ministry would also seek to amend some laws to tighten legal loopholes and prevent business operators from taking advantage of tourists.

Minister Somsak would also set up a tourist assistance center to help visitors affected by natural disasters and man-made threats such as bodily assaults, accidents, money extortion and cheating. However, he said that the move must be conducted along with measures to educate tourists about local laws.

He also touched on the establishment of a Tourism Court, saying initially the court would be opened in Bangkok, and would later be extended to top tourist provinces like Pattaya, Phuket, Samui and Chiang Mai.

The Tourism Court is aimed at speeding legal proceedings related to tourists by operating at night and deploying such method as VDO conferencing to interview witnesses.