Tourists should be aware that there are a number of tourism scams currently prevalent in Phuket, Bangkok & other parts of Thailand.
Hotel staff, tour desk staff & tour guides in Thailand make most of their money from commission and under-the-table payments. It is always possible to find a few honest people, but it should be understood that many people are often paid little salary & the tourism industry is such that many unlicensed people can get commission just like travel agents of up to 75% of the selling price.
Everyone should also understand that a travel agent or tour desks have to make a certain commission to pay for their services, like any middleman around the world for any business. The client should always compare, read, ask for information from the agent about whether the trip they buy is worth the price they pay. If you are paying a high price and get satisfaction, then there are no reasons why the agent or tour desk should not get commission for recommending a good tour, but if the tour is of very low quality and you aren’t satisfied then you should complain and you are probably not going to be happy knowing the agent got commission.
Booking our James Bond Island Tour
If you use any of these types of agent to find information about Two Sea Tour, be prepared to be told any of the following
- We don’t know that boat
- They are no longer in business
- Their boat has sunk
- They are fully booked
- They do not go out because of the bad weather
The agent will then offer you a ‘good boat’ or a ‘better company’ – one that will carry a larger number of passengers so that the cost of running is as low as possible to attract as many agents as possible and pay them a bigger commission. These operators have no other choice but to keep the food cost, the service costs to the minimal and will use the services of freelancers to paddle you around in the canoes for 15 minutes while you will be ask or often forced to reward them with good tips. They will also take the tourists to places where tour guides and employees will be offered a little extra, like beach stops renting chairs, selling drinks…
We would like to inform everyone that the tour or boat operator normally has the same running costs all year around and it is not up to him to reduce the selling price, they can not unless reducing the quality of the services offered. During high season tour desks and travel agents will try to get as much commission as they can and sell to the brochure price, thinking if you don’t want to buy the tour, the next person will.
Therefore, tourists will often find in low season tour desks and travel agencies offering up to 60% discounts, so little number of tourists, so many agents, it is then the time to fight to attract the few clients to their desks.
Any surplus money we may have compare to other tours we prefer to use it to improve our boat’s comfort and services to our passengers, and not to pay commissions to agents who do little more than make a phone call on your behalf.
Bangkok is one of the biggest exporters of finished jewelry in the world. Phuket and Bangkok are two great places to buy jewelry. BUT ONLY if you know what you are doing. In Bangkok, most likely at the Grand palace, you will be told the Grand Palace is closed (it almost never is) and then offered to be taken to a jewelry shop instead, but not any jewelry shop, generally a jewelry shop selling poor quality gems at 10 times the normal price. Of course here again, a commission will be offered and why not if you are recommended a great place selling real jewels.
Tuk Tuk Petrol Scam
The tuk tuk drivers will often tell you that if you agree a stop at a particular jewelry shop or tailor he will get a petrol ticket which will help his family very much. Of course most of these people are in the employment of these shops, where you will be pressured to buy what you had no intention of buying but instead losing your time.
Jet Ski Scams
One of the most notorious scams can be found in Pattaya & Phuket where having hired a jet ski, upon returning, you are shown damage that you have caused. The repairs for this damage are normally around €2000. You are surrounded by other jet ski operators and not allowed to leave until you pay. Mysteriously police are never available to intervene. Best advice – DO NOT rent jet skis in Pattaya & Phuket.