The move follows the killing of Swiss tourist Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf at Ao Yon Waterfall on Phuket’s east coast last week.
Governor Narong yesterday called for cooperation from all sectors of the community “to be a good host in taking care of the safety of tourists”.
All municipalities and local administration organisations (OrBorTor) are to explore tourist attractions in their areas that pose risk to tourists’ safety, and to lay out more comprehensive safety measures, Governor Narong said.
He added that he expected the official order to be issued this afternoon (Aug 10).
“Some areas may be isolated and unsafe for tourists. The latest risk area was where a tourist became lost in the jungle. There must be measures to take care of which areas tourists should enter and which areas they should be accompanied,” Governor Narong said.
“There must be an officer in each area that is aware of the local information, especially local community leaders,” he added.
The killing of Ms Sauvain-Weisskopf is regarded as having an impact on the image of Phuket and tourists’ confidence in travelling here, Governor Narong admitted.
However, while reports have echoed around the world about news of Ms Sauvain-Weisskopf’s death shaking tourist confidence in coming to Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, no figures of travel or booking cancellations as a direct result of her death have been reported.
Of note, even by the end of July the rate of bookings under the Phuket Sandbox scheme was already slowing amid the outbreak of COVID -19 infections and the restrictions imposed throughout many other parts of the country.
Governor Narong yesterday pointed out that local municipalities had already been tasked with identifying COVID risk areas in their ambits, by designating villages in their areas as either red, yellow or blue to indicate the extent of the risk of COVID infection in each village.
Governor explained that the measures under the Phuket sandbox scheme were not enough.
Ms Sauvain-Weisskopf had arrived in Phuket under the Sandbox scheme, but had already observed her 14 days on the island staying at a SHA Plus venue. She had already travelled to Krabi and back, and the resort where she was staying at Ao Yon was not obligated to keep track of her whereabouts.
“While the tourist is staying at a SHA Plus accommodation venue, the SHA Plus Manager can keep track of where the tourist is going, but once the tourist has exited the venue, what can we do next?” Governor Narong said.
“In the areas of hotels and areas nearby, please help each other to be on the lookout, be the eyes and ears for the safety of tourists,” he said.
Governor Narong also emphasised the importance of keeping the Phuket Sandbox scheme open as a means to help provide incomes to people across the island suffering heavy financial stress due to the lack of tourism.
He also streessed the need to provide for food security.
“In the current situation we must continue to take care of people and make sure they have enough food, because people are still suffering,” he said.
“The Phuket Provincial Commercial Office has organised a commercial vehicle project through which household necessities are sold to people at low prices across all areas of Phuket for a period of one month to help alleviate the needs of the people during this time,” he said.
Phuket officials over the past week have been promoting private efforts to support people in need across Phuket, including The Rich Villa Bangkhonthi handing out fresh mangosteen to local residents in Chalong and 5 Star Marine continuing its campaign by providing bags of household necessities to local residents in Nai Yang. The 5 Star Marine efforts, joined by Sutai Muay Thai, have so far provided more than 200,000 “life bags” of essential items to people in need across Phuket and on nearby islands.