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> Forget about Thailand: Its Government Doesn't Care for Tourists, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, MOTS, Weerasak Kowsurat
hunghung
post Oct 17 2009, 07:16 PM
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My experience in Thailand is no good. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) there won't respond to my complaint. So when you have problems in Thailand, don't expect any help from its (corrupt/incompetent?) government. Visit Thailand at your own risk. Here is what happened:

In April, 2008, I filed an online complaint against a Pattaya travel agent for ripping me off to MOTS via the website touristassistancecenter.go.th (this site is no longer functional). A Ministry staff acknowledged my complaint by email.

However, despite repeated online inquiry about the progress of the complaint, I received no response from the Ministry.

When I was in Bangkok earlier this year in May, I went to MOTS National Stadium office to inquire about the progress of my complaint (which I filed online in April 2008). Amazingly, they found no record of the complaint and asked me to file a written complaint while I was in that office. I did accordingly and a staff said I would hear from the Ministry in 2-3 weeks.

Not having heard anything, I sent a letter to the National Stadium office in August and another one in September, 2009 inquiring about the progress of the complaint, but again I heard nothing. About a month ago, I sent a letter about the matter to Mr.Weerasak Kowsurat (Minister of Tourism and Sports) at the Ratchadamneon Rd. address, but heard nothing.

I think it is conclusive that MOTS is not going to do anything about my complaint. I wonder why (corruption/incompetence?).
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greekcypriot
post Oct 18 2009, 01:07 AM
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So sorry to hear about this bad experience you had in Thailand.
I have been there 4 times spending at least 21 days each time, but always with a travel agency that has a very good experience. At least the 1st time.
The other three times we went, we just booked the tickets and had a week touring around with the group from the agency, but always booked for the other two weeks on my own.

Everyone of us should be careful, picking the most reliable agencies that we already know, when traveling to these countries, and always double check at tripadvisor and read comments on everything.

Did you book on your own through internet? What is Mots.

What kind of impressions did you bring back - not referring to the agency-.
I mean about the country, people, culture, environment? It can't be all bad!!


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hunghung
post Oct 18 2009, 01:22 AM
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QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 18 2009, 01:07 AM) *


Everyone of us should be careful, picking the most reliable agencies that we already know, when traveling to these countries, and always double check at tripadvisor and read comments on everything.

Did you book on your own through internet? What is Mots.

What kind of impressions did you bring back - not referring to the agency-.
I mean about the country, people, culture, environment? It can't be all bad!!


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30 countries, 3 blogs with over 4.500Photos with comments and tips
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No internet. The travel agent is Maneerat Transport & Travel on Soi Post Office, Pattaya. I went there because I saw its TV ad on my hotel room TV.

MOTS is Ministry of Tourism and Sports, which oversees tourist operations in Thailand.

You are right: some things were good. What bothers me is the ignoring of my complaint by MOTS.


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travelmonster
post Oct 18 2009, 02:42 AM
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I'm sorry that you had an experience you felt worthy of a complaint letter.

I wouldn't let the experience put you off going to Thailand again or indeed not using a travel agent at all. Travel agents tend to charge you twice the price of things that you could easily do independently yourself and that way you have more control and flexibility over what you do and when.


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hunghung
post Oct 25 2009, 08:02 PM
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MOTS acknowledged my online complaint (in April 08) and accepted my walk-in written complaint (in April 09), indicating that there is an intention to investigate. It seems something is holding it back from going further. Does anyone know what is going on behind the scene?

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barsie
post Oct 28 2009, 02:05 PM
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The reality of Thailand is - baht is the law. They have a very corrupt system and the end of the day a letter of compliant means totally nothing to them. If you want to get anything done you either need to know personally the right people or be willing to pay the price.

I know that sounds very negative, but it's just how things work in some countries. Thailand is still effectively a third world country with a western veneer due to tourism. The money that goes into the country from tourism isn't re invested into the countries structure- hence a poor return on the investment.

I intend to eventually retire to Thailand- these are negatives but in reality the positives of Thailand far out weigh negatives


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hunghung
post Aug 13 2010, 09:36 PM
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This is an update of the story and it is getting hilarious.

I didn't hear anything from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports about my complaint. When I was in Bangkok in March 2010, I visited MOTS National Stadium address on March 8. Mr. Zon, the lawyer who received my complaint, was on holidays. I talked to a lady lawyer there (strangely, she wouldn't give her name when I asked; I remember I talked to both her and Mr. Zon when I was there in May 2009). She remembered my complaint and said the office was waiting for new laws in order for my complaint to proceed further. I then asked if there were existing laws and why she had to wait for new laws. Unfortunately, she never made herself clear. She said she would inform Mr. Zon about my visit.

I heard nothing until June 22, when I received an email (written in broken English) from a hotmail account by Laksanara. No official title and no full name were provided (see below), but I am quite sure Laksanara is the lady lawyer I met on March 8. Laksanara said Mr. Zon had departed and my complaint was dropped, but a warning letter had been sent to the travel agent. I was surprised since I was told to wait for new laws, but now the office drops the complaint without referencing to any law.


>>about your complaint with Maneerat Transport.co.th‏

From: Muumie Gold (muumie_gal@hotmail.com)

Dear Sir

About your complaint with Maneerat Transport co.ltd( Khun Zon take care this case but now he not work here )We'd like to inform you about the result of your complaint with Maneerat co.ltd We can not force them like you ask we to do for you,because you already used programe and about over charge which you think about your case it 's too much expensive we can not foce them about price cos how much? ,it's depend on yours that's mean only you and tourist company. How ever our office sent the letter to warn them already. Any way we hope you to revitsit again and dont forget to check about the record of tourist comany.
Finally we'have to stop your complaint.

Regard,
Laksanara <<


I suspected that no one in the office has even gone through my complaint file and Laksanara just wanted to make her job easy by ending the case. The warning letter story was to make me think that something was done. I then emailed Laksanara on July 9, asking for an official reply together with a copy of the warning letter. She emailed to me on July 14, saying

>>Dear Sir,

Abou your complaint ,which I reply you with written in broken English and email with an unofficial response from Ministry of Tourism and sports. I will let you knoe as soon as possible,because I am sick so I can not reply your email but I will go to the office in this week ,may be on Thursday.

Sincerely,
Laksanara<<


I heard nothing for about 3 weeks and so I started emailing Laksanara. She finally responded by email on August 9 and wrote

>>Dear Sir,
Please do not disturb me by using a private e -mail . You can contact this office via complaint@tourism.go.th
Now I have already draft the warning letter then they will send it to Maneerat and you soon. Anyway I 'd like to tell you that Saturday and Sunday is weekend
in Thailand .Once again I am not the person who take care this case as you known since I have to read all document as you know and post or forword this by put my name like this to public ,I think you have to consult your lawyer first because it's seem to discredit me.

thak you for stop do like this ,your complaint will take the time almost 1 month.The office will let you know soon ,around 2 weeks later

Laksanara<<


She hasn't finished writing the warning letter??? So she hasn't written he warning letter she claimed to have sent weeks ago (!!!!), just what I suspected.

I have asked her if she is the lady lawyer I met on March 8, but she never answers. I have asked her to provide me her official title and full name, but she still hasn't provided. She wrote in the above email that she is "not the person who take care of [my case]". If she isn't the person, then why is she communicating with me and why is she writing the warning letter herself? I also asked her the official title and the full name of that person who takes care of my case, but she never answers (obviously, there is no such person and she is just trying to avoid responsibility).

A comedy in making? Maybe this kind of incompetence is typical of Thai agencies.

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greekcypriot
post Aug 13 2010, 10:26 PM
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I don't wish to disappoint you but as I see it you will never get an answer no matter what you do.

Next time you visit this country or any country, be sure to pick a reliable agency. Get advise from TripAdvisor, Virtual tourist, and many times in blogs on TravelPod people write about the hotels, agencies they booked. Advise from real travellers, not advice from advertisements.


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januaryjones
post Nov 28 2010, 07:39 PM
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This post has been up for ages, but as it is still up I guess it is not too late to comment. To the original poster: Sorry, but Thailand is actually extremely welcoming to tourists -- it has the most experience in Asia at this, so it should You started off on the wrong foot in your selection of a travel agent, I'm afraid. When booking any holiday from afar -- or for that matter, near -- check credentials, references and other travelers.
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hunghung
post Nov 28 2010, 08:38 PM
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QUOTE(januaryjones @ Nov 28 2010, 07:39 PM) *

This post has been up for ages, but as it is still up I guess it is not too late to comment. To the original poster: Sorry, but Thailand is actually extremely welcoming to tourists -- it has the most experience in Asia at this, so it should You started off on the wrong foot in your selection of a travel agent, I'm afraid. When booking any holiday from afar -- or for that matter, near -- check credentials, references and other travelers.


My post isn't about a rip-off travel agent. Rather, the post is about the Thai government unit responsible for tourism (namely, Ministry of Tourism and Sports) not following up on my complaint against a travel agent.

Be realistic. If you are already in your country of visit, you would spend your time hopping around rather than doing research on travel agencies. Also, even if you do the research, a bad travel agency probably has no record so that you may still bump into a "dark travel house".
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chris30
post Nov 30 2010, 04:07 AM
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That's really an awful experience sad.gif I hope someone from MOTS can read this and do something about your complaint...

Although I sympathize with your plight, I can't help but think that these kind of things also happen in other countries as well. We can't judge a place just by a single experience. Besides, Thailand has a whole lot of good things to offer- exotic places, friendly people, shopping spree, etc. (which I hope you were able to experience also)

Just like what barsie said, the positives are a far cry than the negatives...
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hunghung
post Apr 23 2011, 11:24 PM
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A happy ending for me: I got 20,000B back (out of the 31,000B I paid for the Cambodia tour).

To make a long story short, I found out last month from Maneerat, the travel agent, that it had paid someone in MOTS (specifically, Tourism Business and Guide Registration Office in Bangkok) 20,000B back in Sept. 2009 (a few months after I filed my complaint there). Maneerat thought the money had gone to me and that the matter was settled. Of course, I was never informed about the 20,000B. I presented this fact to MOTS and I finally got the 20,000B (actually less because of bank wiring fees).


I don't think I would ever find out the whole truth, but here is what I think happened:

Mr. Zon (the lawyer who received my complaint; his full name is Tungsoomboon Krittapas) contacted the travel agent and it sent a staff to MOTS National Stadium office to meet him (or someone else in MOTS). The staff was asked to pay me a partial refund of 20,000B and the money was transferred bank to bank on Sept. 16, 2009 to a personal, rather than an official MOTS, bank account given to the staff (I have a copy of the bank transfer receipt provided by the travel agent). The name of the money recipient was Pornphirung Raethong. Laksanara, the female lawyer who handled my case after Tungsoomboon Krittapas' departure (I checked out that he did leave MOTS) also has the last name Raethong. Since Laksanara might not have given me her real first name (which is likely as she kept avoiding to give me her full name and official title), Laksanara herself might have been the money recipient.

When I presented the 20,000B story to MOTS, Laksanara emailed to me, saying that she found my story true and that I wasn't informed about the money because MOTS didn't know what the money was for (but she didn't tell if she was the money recipient). Here is the intriguing part: Why didn't MOTS know what the money was for? For bank to bank transfer, the recipient knows who the sender is. If MOTS didn't know what the 20,000B was for, all it had to do was to contact the sender, which is Maneerat (the bank transfer receipt clearly stated that the sender was Maneerat). So I think Laksanara or someone else in MOTS wanted to keep the 20,000B for her/his own use, hoping that I would never find out.

My persistence paid off.

I can ask MOTS to investigate this matter, which is full of irregularities on the part of MOTS. However, I am satisfied as I got most of the money back.


What is your thought?

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koonel
post Apr 24 2011, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE(hunghung @ Apr 24 2011, 12:24 AM) *

A happy ending for me: I got 20,000B back (out of the 31,000B I paid for the Cambodia tour).



What is your thought?


Over 12 million tourists visited Thailand last year. This is more than the year you originally posted your first comment. I guess most visitors are happy with their holiday in Thailand.

Glad you had a "happy ending!"
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