In an effort to reassure foreigners and prop up its tourism industry, Thailand has implemented the country's first "tourist court" that will aim to protect travelers against unscrupulous dealings and crime.
Set up specifically to handle tourist complaints, the pilot project is opening first in the beach resort city of Pattaya this week. More night courts are also planned for other popular tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai and Phuket, reports English-language Thai publication The Nation.
The Pattaya court will be open between 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm and hear cases covering personal security and unfair business dealings.
The move comes in response to rising incidents in crime against holidaymakers. According to a report prepared by the Overseas Security Advisory Council in the US, crimes such as pick-pocketing, purse-snatching and credit card fraud are becoming increasingly common.
One of the most common methods of theft is the motorcycle-assisted "snatch-and-go" where the thief grabs the victim's bag while zipping by.
Last year, the method turned deadly after an Australian tourist tried to resist the theft and was stabbed to death.
In order to make tourists feel more welcome in a city that's built an unsavory reputation for being surly and rude to foreigners, the Parisian chamber of commerce published an etiquette manual on how to cater to tourists, including the different cultural preferences of visitors from around the world.
For example, according to "Do You Speak Touriste?" the British like to be called by their first name, Americans are direct and frank and Brazilians tend to be touchy-feely.