AT THE behest of the ruling Thai military, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Ministry of Tourism and Sports are enforcing a new set of standards to wipe out jet ski scams targeting tourists.
The Jet Ski Rental Service Standards require jet ski operators to have a three-month legal business licence tied to a permanent address and a valid insurance policy.
Certified supervisors with first-aid training and signs clearly displaying rental fees, terms and conditions must also be present. Compliant operators will be issued a Merry Elephant logo to guarantee standards.
Tourists renting jet skis must also pass an assessment test and wear standard safety lifevests at all time for their own safety.
Common at Thailand’s beach destinations especially Pattaya and Phuket, jet ski scams usually see tourists returning a rented jet ski being told they have damaged the vehicle and must pay an exorbitant repair fee, fees that are often extracted under threats of violence.
Thawatchai Arunyik, governor of TAT, said: “The move is one of several measures put in place by the National Council for Peace and Order to help restore the confidence of tourists visiting the kingdom. To bring an end to rip-offs and scams, new regulations will be put in place and more ethical working practices encouraged.
“As we strive to improve the image of the country’s tourism industry, it is vital that all jet ski businesses understand that such standards are vital, and that they have to improve their quality of service, staff training and business ethics. They also have to bring to the attention of the authorities any operators who are involved with scams and damaging the reputation of Thailand, so that they can be prosecuted and forced out of business.”