Chairing the meeting was Phuket Vice Governor Thawornwat Khongkaew.
Phuket Governor Norrapat Plodthong was not present for the meeting.
“Today’s meeting is to clarify the progress of the construction of the two underpasses in Phuket that are under construction right now,” Vice Governor Thawornwat said.
“The airport underpass is one and the other is the Chalong Underpass. The airport underpass is progressing, while the Chalong Underpass construction is delayed from the plan.
“However, the contractor has been ordered to accelerate the construction to complete the project,” he added.
Regarding road safety, V/Gov Thawornwat explained, “We understand that tourists have rent vehicles to travel around the island and sometimes have accidents.
“Phuket has a policy that rental operators must clarify the traffic rules to people before renting the vehicles out to them,” he said.
No mention was made that rental operators must now also ensure that people renting vehicles – including tourists – must now present at least a licence issued from the tourist’s home country confirming they are legally empowered to operate the same class of car or motorbike in their home country. (See story here.)
Regarding tour boat safety, V/Gov Thawornwat noted, “A number of measures have been formulated to strictly control and organise piers by the relevant government offices that must be at the piers and check every boat that carry tourists and every boat must be of the required standards before it can be allowed to depart.”
Regarding the spate of drownings this year while the lifeguard patrols at Phuket beaches remain in haphazard disarray, with many beaches either unmanned or patrolled by unqualified and/or unequipped ‘lifeguards’, all that V/Gov Thawornwat had to say was, “The issue of tourists drowning is caused by people ignoring warnings by authorities, which we will find an appropriate way to remedy.”