The Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China, Songkhla held a meeting in Phuket last Thursday (Mar 9) in a wide-ranging appeal to police and all forms of tourism authorities in Phuket, as well as representatives from tour agencies.
The key official at the meeting was the Director of the China National Tourism Administration Bangkok office, Zhang Xinhong, who was joined by Chinese Consul General in Songkhla Zhou Haicheng, the lead Chinese government representative for all Southern Thailand.
Representing the Royal Thai Police were no less than three police generals: Region 8 Police Commander Maj Gen Chayohdom Jindawirote, who is the lead ranking police officer for upper Southern Thailand; Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen; and Krabi Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Worawit Phanprung.
Also present were officers from Tourist Police Region 5, the Tourism and Sports Ministry Phuket office, the Phuket Land Transportation Department (PLTO) and other government departments totalling 15 agencies in all, along with tour agency representatives.
Consul General Zhou thanked police in Phuket and Krabi for their efforts so far and expressed his appreciation that the two provincial governments had made great efforts to promote Thailand-China cooperation, and safeguard the safety of Chinese tourists.
However, he also stressed that with the number of Chinese tourists in southern Thailand rising sharply, water and traffic safety issues had become increasingly prominent.
“We hope that Thai authorities will strengthen their water safety management, such as snorkelling, and improve the construction of tourism safety facilities to ensure life and property security of Chinese tourists,” Consul Zhou said.
To this, Phuket Police Chief Gen Teeraphol and his Krabi counterpart Gen Worawit spoke generally about safety issues and promised to ramp inspection and supervision of travel agencies, boat transport companies and other tourism enterprises and personnel.
They also vowed to crack down drunk driving, driving without license and other illegal activities, and “to make efforts to reduce the number of Chinese tourists drowning and traffic accident casualties.”
Region 8 Police Commander Gen Chayohdom simply said, “The Thai government welcomes Chinese tourists to travel in Southern Thailand, and pays high attention to the life and property safety of Chinese tourists.”
He added that Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimapragorn and Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul during their visit in Phuket on Mar 2 ordered Thai officials to take action on a broad range of issues to improve tourism in the region.
The Chinese delegation did not elaborate on the high number of Chinese tourists killed or injured while on holiday in Phuket, through drownings in hotel pools or while snorkelling at reefs or near beachfront resorts, or injured in “brake failure” bus crashes on Patong Hill, but did politely accept the speeches delivered by Thai officials.
“Meeting participants also exchanged views and reached important consensus on speeding up the construction of tourism infrastructure, having more signs in Chinese at the airport, piers and tourism landmarks, and strengthening the safety and rescue of beaches and other places in Phuket and Samui,” noted a report posted on the Songkla Consulte-General official website.
“The relevant departments of the two sides have unanimously expressed that it is of great significance to promote the friendly exchanges between China and Thailand, and promote mutually beneficial cooperation by working on the safety of Chinese Tourists.
“The relevant parties will continue to liaise closely and strengthen cooperation to create a better and safe tourism condition for tourists,” the report added.