Thailand's world-famed underwater wedding festival will no longer be a straight-lace affair, as gay couples will soon be allowed to join the annual event.  The festival takes place in Trang province every Valentine's Day.  Wichat Rattamanee, chairman of the Trang Tourism Association said the scuba-suit weddings, always well publicized by the international media, will attract even more tourists to Trang if the Valentines' vows are extended to non-straight couples.  However, the Thai ceremony will stop short of granting the mixed couples official marriage certificates, still not allowed under Thai law.  Rather, the gay couples will be given a certificate announcing that they are officially "lovers" instead.
Many Saudis who visit Thailand are unaware of the kingdom's 12-year ban on travel to the country, and some have returned from a vacation to the land of smiles to face questioning from Saudi authorities. Saudi Arabia has banned its citizens from traveling to Thailand because it claims Thailand has high levels of crime, prostitution and alcohol consumption. The Saudi government said those breaking the ban would be prevented from traveling for six months to three years and forced to pay a fine. Other countries banned for travel by Saudis include Israel, Iraq and Bosnia.
Arab News
Korean tour operators were invited by the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand for a meeting to discuss the hotly debated topic of illegal Korean tour guides operating on the island. Being a tour guide is a profession reserved for Thais, yet many Koreans continue to do so illegally. In a bid to restrict the increasing number of illegal Korean guides, the governor’s office announced a memorandum of understanding at the meeting that requires Korean operators to employ Korean-speaking Thais as guides. Korean tour operators at the meeting raised concerns that after employing Thai guides, many of them would quit and set up their own companies or work freelance, leading to staffing shortages. In a letter written to sent to the Phuket governor, some 25 Thai tour guides alleged that government officials had been taking bribes from Korean tour operators to allow them to continue hiring illegal guides.
Phuket Gazette