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Phuket Opinion: Restoring confidence

Phuket Opinion: Restoring confidence

PHUKET: If there’s one phrase the world is tired of hearing these past few months it is has to be Thai officials repeating just how important it is “to restore tourists’ confidence” that Phuket is a safe place to travel.

tourismSafetymarineeconomicsChineseopinion
By The Phuket News

Sunday 4 November 2018, 09:00AM


Tourists on board a passenger boat at Rassada Pier in the week after the ‘Phoenix’ tour boat disaster on July 5. Convincing tourists that Phuket is safe to travel to might take a little more than words. Photo: PR Dept

Tourists on board a passenger boat at Rassada Pier in the week after the ‘Phoenix’ tour boat disaster on July 5. Convincing tourists that Phuket is safe to travel to might take a little more than words. Photo: PR Dept

The unending regurgitation comes time and again, as if the message to local officials is meant to intend exactly and only what the words say – that the focus is purely on restoring tourists’ confidence, not actually taking any meaningful steps to improve safety.

If safety is improved, that would be nice, but purely coincidental.

What staggers the mind is the depth of skills and wealth of experience specifically in marine safety of the foreigners already here on Phuket – nevermind those readily available abroad – not being taken advantage of.

Since the July 5 Phoenix tour boat disaster that killed 47 Chinese tourists the suggestions made through comments, articles and even sent directly to The Phuket News has shown that the quality of understanding and the expertise to make Phuket’s marine tourism industry as safe as officials espouse they want it to be can be done right here, right now.

But what have we had instead? A steaming pile of press conferences and a couple of seminars telling local boat captains and crews how important safety is.

There are now some pretty souvenir wristbands at some piers that will help officials confirm how many tourists were on a boat if it sinks – and to make it easier to identify bodies, which in all is not a bad thought considering that in the aftermath of the Phoenix disaster no officials had a clue how many tourists were on the ill-fated boat when it sank.

With the calibre of the long-term expats on the island there is no reason Phuket cannot do something world class. Period. So why haven’t local officials asked? If the Thai education system teaches any pupil anything, it is how to copy an answer that is already provided.

Loss of face and other forms of embarrassment also spring to mind, but most likely would be the same reason that we have heard nothing about the B500 million safety plan submitted to Cabinet by Tourism & Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.

Maybe the Cabinet is just being cautious. After all, if a lifeguard-sourcing contract for a piddling B13 million is now under investigation for alleged corruption, what would they do with half a billion?

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DeKaaskopp | 05 November 2018 - 17:16:12

@shwe,if i were Thai and i would read some comments on here,i certainly would become a racist too. But don't worry,there is a way out of it.Relocate!

Shwe | 05 November 2018 - 05:54:52

lets face it, Thais do not want expats here. That is why there are so many racist laws and why the immigration dept. make life difficult for us.

Capt B | 04 November 2018 - 22:15:20

"to make it easier to identify bodies"; Kind of like counting your chickens before they've hatched.

vegasbaby | 04 November 2018 - 21:27:58

Unfortunately, saving face is more important than saving lives in Thai culture.  

DeKaaskopp | 04 November 2018 - 18:44:50

Wow,someone thinks the whole world must be probably tired of hearing the one phrase. Didn't know that Phuket is so important for the rest of the world.Actually i thought there are other issues of more concern for the world.Or maybe the writer of that opinion and others have such a limited horizon,that they always think that Phuket is the center of the world .

BosysurfNaiHarn | 04 November 2018 - 15:59:50

I have been a U.S.C.G. licensed Merchant Marine Captain for more than 25 years. I am not able to operate a boat for hire in Thailand. I accept this. But this qualification gives me the right to judge the quality/standard of training for Thai Captains. It is my observation that they do not understand International Rules of the Road (COLREGs). This is basic and a requirement in developed countries.

CaptainJack69 | 04 November 2018 - 13:15:48

Same with the pitiful so-called salvage operation which keeps failing and has already killed one person. There are dozens of international salvors who could have had the Phoenix re-floated and back to shore within a week of the sinking. Heck, it could have been dried out and put back in service by now. But Thai people just can't admit when they can't do something. And from a foreigner? No!

Timothy | 04 November 2018 - 11:16:26

Well done Phuket News! Let's see now what the moronic Thai apologists have to add....nothing of value I am sure. 

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