Tour company removes underwater 'animal abuse' video

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A tour company in Bangkok has removed a video from its Facebook page that shows sea-walking tourists in Phuket handling and abusing marine life.

Gift Box Travel has been heavily criticised for posting the video, including accusations that it promoted 'marine animal abuse'.

The footage was taken by staff and showed sea-walking tourists and a guide from an unnamed company handling corals, sea stars and other animals, feeding entire loaves of bread to fish and even playing catch with a sea star.

On its Facebook page, Gift Box Travel said that it is not a sea walking company. "We are just a normal tour company. The video clip was taken by staff during a familiarisation trip to Phuket on May 1-5 last year. We bought a tour package, which included the sea walking at Coral Island.

"We apologise for posting this kind of inappropriate video. We did not anticipate such a public reaction to this, and we will not support this kind of activity."

Paksakorn "Chai" Aspawiriya, Managing Director of Gift Box Travel, told The Phuket News:

"I’ve heard that the company no longer allows this sort of thing and has fired the guide involved. I hope this kind of issue will be sorted out."

He added that the original video posted was raw footage and the company plans to edit it, adding more information, before reposting it as cautionary advice to tourists.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says it will ban tour guides who damage the environment from entering national marine parks.

Sea-walking involves tourists walking around on the seabed wearing helmets to which air is pumped from the surface.

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