While the country struggles to contain the Pokemon Go frenzy that has already seen people endangered while hunting for animated characters on their smartphones in the augmented reality game, one Phuket tour operator has launched tours to hunt down the prized critters.
Yongyuth Chankul, Managing Director at Phuket Tour Holiday Co, launched tours around the island to hunt Pokemon characters on Monday (Aug 8), just two days after the game was launched in Thailand.
“Many people are delighted that we came up with the idea to help them hunt for Pokemon at Phuket landmarks. We normally offer daily tours to these tourist attractions, so all we had to do was add Pokemon hunting to our package,” he told The Phuket News today (Aug 10).
The tours, by car or van, take Pokemon hunters around Phuket. Collectible items have been found at Khao Rang in Phuket Town, Wat Chalong, Thalang Rd in Phuket Old Town, Karon Viewpoint, Promthep Cape and even Saphan Hin, said Mr Yonyuth.
“There are others in other locations, and people can search for them while on the tours,” he said.
“Now people can play safely because we provide drivers who know these roads well. Many people have called in and asked about the package since we launched them, but demand is already high and people are urged to book in advance,” Mr Yonyuth said.
Looking to take advantage of the Pokemon phenomenon, Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Phongphanu Sawetrun last week announced that his ministry has already engaged in talks with the copyright owner of Pokemon Go in Thailand about adding Thailand’s important tourist sites to the game to attract Gen Y travellers.
However, a slew of complaints prompted the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to lay down four restricted areas where players may not go nationwide: state properties, temples, private zones and dangerous areas including roads, waterways and railways. (See story here.)
The controversial game has already divided most people into either Pokemon Go “Love it” or “Hate it” camps. To this The Phuket News has launched an online poll asking, “Is Pokemon Go a boon or curse for Thailand?”