Bangkok, 21 August, 2018 – Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, visited Phuket this past weekend to oversee progress made in improving marine safety and security for tourists around the popular resort island.
According to Mr. Weerasak, the government considers any investment to ensure Thailand’s and Phuket’s image as a tourist destination worthwhile, since Phuket is one of the biggest tourism revenue earners of any province nationwide.
Investment in the pipeline involves the Phuket’s marine safety and security master plan, which was presented during a mobile cabinet meeting of the Royal Thai Government on 20-21 August in Chumphon and Ranong. The master plan proposal is to improve and develop a ‘Marine Surveillance and Assistance Centre’ for the fiscal years of 2018-2019.
The ‘Marine Surveillance and Assistance Centre’ aims to increase the capabilities and build confidence for tourists worldwide by integrating surveillance and assistance on all marine matters including area management, budget, tools and equipment, technology and personal: for disaster prevention and mitigation, ensure safety and security, while establishing best practices for safety quality precautionary training.
Mr. Weerasak added that Phuket has restructured 24 ports and piers around the island and has appointed a port manager at each to oversee safety measures to inspect boats for seaworthiness.
The 24 ports and piers are upgrading standards to include installation of CCTV systems and warning signage for the public and tourists. A mobile operation unit has also been set up to perform random checks on boats and passengers heading out on Andaman Sea excursions.
Operational and system management software that can link with individual boats to receive the latest information on passengers and routing is also being implemented province wide.
In addition, several projects are planned to be set at Chalong Pier to increase safety measures and capacity to serve the public and tourists and to uplift the province’s tourism image. More pontoons and moorings are also being installed to cater to the increasing number of boats in Chalong Bay.
Regarding the investigation on the 5 July boat incident, Mr. Weerasak urged all concerned government agencies to expedite the process. He added the Royal Thai Government has planned a merit-making event on 22 to 23 August in remembrance of those who lost their lives from the tragedy.