Under the order, preservation of life and property are to be given top priority, while the media “is to be told the truth” about tourism issues.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana handed down the order at a meeting on Thursday (Oct 25).
“Regarding the tourism industry, Gen Chatchai has ordered that Phuket province must push this concept to become a reality as fast as possible,” Gov Phakaphong said.
“Phuket tourism must have a reliable image. All officials must concentrate on providing the truth to the public as this affects the coming to Phuket, and the number of tourists coming to the country. Also, this information must be correct information,” he added.
“Simply, the media will lead tourists and people to understand the facts easier,” Gov Phakaphong said.
Under the order from Deputy PM Chatchai, Phuket officials are to:
1) Develop and promote tourism in Phuket;
2) Bring marine tourism safety to international standards in the Andaman region, (in order to) increase the economic potential of the country; and
3) Induce foreign tourists to visit by creating incentives and facilities.
“Phuket must be the standard for tourist marine safety in the Andaman,” Gov Phakaphong said.
“This way will lead us to promote tourism together. It links products developed from local communities’ way of life and develops original tourist sites,” he said.
“The new standard provides that safety of life and property are top priorities, as well as product control, and service quality and price,” Gov Phakaphong added.
The Governor ordered that he be presented a ‘Phuket tourism situation report’ from officials at the next meeting.
“I really want Phuket province to have international level of safety standards in tourism,” he said.
The order to ramp up marine tourism safety standards comes as tour operators scramble to counter the plunge in bookings from Chinese tourists following the Phoenix tour boat disaster off Phuket on July 5 that killed 47 Chinese tourists.
Since the incident, arrivals from the mainland dropped by nearly 12% in August and 15% in September with no signs of recovery, according to figures from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Vichit Prakobkosol, President of the he Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), estimated that Thailand would lose 300,000 Chinese tourists in the final quarter this year and an additional 700,000 in the first three months next year.
The revenue loss may top B50 billion from October to next March, Mr Vichit said. (See story here.)