THAIS DEMAND GOVERNMENT TO CLOSE DOWN FOREIGN BUSINESSES – The same bellicose rhetoric has been shouted from the tree tops of commerce association in Thailand for years and once again Thais are demanding that their Government take action to remove tourist related foreign operated businesses.
It is, under Thai Law, illegal for a foreigner to own more than 49% of a business in Thailand; it’s the same rule that applies to property ownership.
In general foreigners find this unacceptable as they are unable to find Thai partners that would put up 51% of the required capital. The solution is to ‘skirt’ the law which is achieved through a ‘Thai Nominee’.
In effect the Thai Nominee owns, on paper, 51% of the business. However the Thais do not accrue any benefit from the business, either through control or profit sharing. It is in effect a business operated, control and profited from by the foreigner.
The main target of the current, and previous, clashes is tourism as this is seen by the Thais as their domain and no foreigner should profit from the tourists that visit Thailand each year.
While this is a measure to protect, by and large, local jobs there is a growing skill gap that the Thais simply cannot fill. The most obvious shortage of skill is that of languages. As Thailand has become a more universal tourist destination the people that visit are also incredibly diverse and the Thais have a hard enough time with Basic English and so when presented with Korean or Russian visitors they simply cannot communicate with them.
The obvious downside to this is that the Thais cannot properly inform their guests as to information on the local sights that many like to visit. On a more worrying note has been the lack of safety as Thais are not only uneducated towards developed countries safety standards the little safety standards they have cannot be explained. This has, and will continue to do so, cost lives.
On the island of Phuket, Southern Thailand, local expats have witnessed a number of disturbing trends of late. It appears that if the Thais are not attacking Korean Tour Guides it’s the Russians and now in the mix are thrown the Chinese.
One thing that a Thai doesn’t like is competition. They are fully aware that they do not have the language skills to compete. Often tourists have found that if they opt for a tour company that is from their native country the prices for tours can be cheaper by up to as much as 4 times; leading the tourists to believe that not only do the Thais provide an inferior service but somehow figure tourists should pay much more. This culture of ripping off tourists is a well-known fact and now tourists are abandoning the holiday island for other worldwide destinations in the pursuit to avoid the endless scams.
Over the last few months, especially on Phuket there have been scenes of road blockages as the Thais protest that local officials are not protecting their livelihood by closing down the foreign tour operators and deporting them.
This, which many liken to a witch hunt, has caused a number of foreign tour businesses to close shop and leave and it is most likely that their customer base will leave with them.
“The Thais are so blind in their greed they fail to see how beneficial it is to have healthy competition. They simply want the whole cake without having to improve on what they offer. This has resulted in us closing our business and our 7,800 customers will all be visiting us in Bali next season. The damage that the Thais have done, and continue to do, to the tourist industry is madness. Unfortunately you cannot explain the economics of this situation with people who can barely count to ten.” Anonymous Russian Tour Operator
One senior official commented on a recent news article;
“Tourists buy their products and services and the revenue goes to the foreign owners instead of the Thai economy.” Pol Maj Gen Roy
Many foreigners have asked the obvious question… where does the money go if not into the Thai economy? In fact when you look at the bottom line in terms of taxation it is the foreign operated companies that are paying taxes and these are levied at a higher rate for foreign business. The money from the products and services is spent in Thailand and on hiring Thai staff, paying rent to Thai property owners… the list goes on and therefore the Thai Official argument has no foundation.
The real truth lies in between control, greed and xenophobia. It is no secret that Thailand has become known as the ‘Land of Scams’ where every tourist is a target for their incessant greed. Many foreigners feel that the Thais fear anything that is not Thai and their continued level of ignorance and greed has almost destroyed tourism on the holiday island.
As one expat who I spoke to recently; now living in Malaysia, put it… 20 years ago Phuket was an incredible place to visit it was lush, green, clean and the locals where just wonderful. Today it’s nothing more than a whore house and an open cesspit. It is operated from the top to the bottom to extract cash from unsuspecting tourists. It’s lost all its charm and there is nothing left for tourists, unless you like being ripped off or having your life being put at risk by uneducated, greedy idiots.
Despite the obvious facts the Thais and Government agencies believe that it is the foreigners who are ‘hurting the image of Thailand’.
Would you visit Thailand knowing that your life will be put at risk by unqualified Thai tour guides? Have your say… leave your comments below.