Showing posts with label Boat disaster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boat disaster. Show all posts

Monday, 26 November 2018

Chinese tourists skip Thailand after Phuket boat disaster

A ferry disaster that killed dozens of Chinese tourists in Thailand earlier this year has sent visitor numbers plunging from the kingdom's single largest market. 

The Chinese make up about a quarter of Thailand's 35 million annual visitors who are drawn by cheap beach vacations, renowned food and Bangkok nightlife.

But in July a ferry carrying mostly Chinese tourists back to the resort island of Phuket sank killing 47. 

August recorded an immediate dip of 12 percent and September brought 15 percent fewer Chinese tourists than the same months last year. 

October was the hardest hit, with the tourism ministry reporting Wednesday a same-period decrease of about 20 percent -- or 160,000 people -- from 2017.

About $476 million was lost in spending over the three-month period, statistics showed. 
Thailand has seen tourism slowdowns following a bombing in 2015 in central Bangkok and a military coup in 2014.

 But the prolonged slump of the past few months has been a "wake-up call" for Thailand's tourism operators, Paul Pruangkarn of the Pacific Asia Travel Association said, as it has pushed the sector to mull its overreliance on one country. 

"Too many people have always been focusing too much on getting Chinese tourists," said Pruangkarn, whose association represents hundreds of businesses around the region. 
He predicted tourist numbers will ultimately bounce back.

Since the Phuket tragedy the government has rolled out inducements aimed at regaining trust and making travel easier.

The immigration bureau exempted Chinese tourists from paying a $60 visa-on-arrival fee from November to mid-January. 

Last month four immigration officials were demoted from their position following a probe that found they were demanding "tips" from Chinese tourists to fast track their entry. 

Source - TheJakartaPost

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

#Thailand not seen as safe tourist destination until it fixes problems

TOURISM and Sport Minister Weerasak Kowsurat yesterday urged agencies to sort out a series of problems before they can send a convincing message to the world that Thailand is still a safe destination for tourists.

Weerasak was responding to the Phoenix boat accident that killed 47 Chinese tourists earlier this month off the southern resort island of Phuket. 

There are many issues that authorities should review and rectify to help improve tourists’ confidence in Thailand as a safe destination, Weerasak told The Nation in an interview. 

He said authorities should complete the first phase of the process by paying all compensation that is due to the relatives of victims and return them to their country.
Authorities should then try to figure out what happened to the boats by retrieving the wreckage for inspection. Concerned agencies should collect statistics nationwide about boat accidents and study international standards for tour boats that can be compared to Thailand. 

He also urged authorities to explain that the cause of the accident was not related to so-called zero-dollar tours or nominee ownership in tourism. “[People] should not generalise. We should be sympathetic to those who lost their loved ones. Money cannot bring them back,” he said. 

He also urged authorities to speed up the completion of a safety standards manual to improve confidence. 
“If we can manage all the issues we then can send a single, convincing message to the world, the Chinese, and local people and ask them to have confidence in us,” he said. The number of Chinese tourist visitors to Phuket has dropped sharply in the wake of the tragedy. 

Source TheNation 


Monday, 16 July 2018

Phuket hit as Chinese cancel room bookings after boat disaster

Tourism industry seeks tough measures to protect reputation after boat tragedy

THAI TOURISM authorities are worried following the massive cancellations of hotel room bookings by Chinese tourists in the southern island resort of Phuket following the tragic July 5 boat accident.

So far, 7,300 Phuket hotel room bookings for July and August have been cancelled by Chinese tourists. Industry insiders say the numbers are likely to increase as more hotels report their booking status. Chinese account for as many as 3 million tourists in Phuket per year, while on average some 10 million Chinese tourists visit Thailand every year.

Kongsak Kupongsakorn, president of the Southern Hoteliers’ Association, said 19 member hotels had already reported their cancellations while another 160 hotels have yet to file their reports. The negative impacts of the July 5 accident in which nearly 50 were killed are widespread and more serious than previously thought, he said.

Chatchai Tipsunavee, permanent secretary at the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said a massive number of hotel booking cancellations had been reported despite remedial measures taken by the Thai government following the boat accident.
 At this stage, hotel room cancellations are estimated to account for 10-15 per cent of the total business in the world-renowned resort province.

Chiaya Rapuepol, president of the Andaman Sea tourism business association, said the boat accident could cost as much as Bt42 billion in lost tourism and related revenues over the next two months. He called for the government to restore confidence in tourist safety as soon as possible to avoid even greater damage being caused to Phuket’s Bt350-billion-a-year tourism industry. News reports of the two boats capsizing received worldwide media coverage.

Phuket Governor Napat Prodthong wants the government to set up a command centre to regulate all Andaman Sea tourist activities in the nearby Phang Nga province. 

He suggested inspection points for all incoming and outgoing vessels so that authorities could more effectively enforce safety and |related laws on vessel operators, captains, passengers and crew.

The Phang Nga command centre could take responsibility for Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Phang Nga provinces, he said, adding that Phuket itself will have its own vessel command units at Ao Por, Ratchata Harbour and Ao Chalong Harbour, with closed-circuit and surveillance TV systems installed to record all incoming and outgoing tourists.

Overall, the Phang Nga command centre and other facilities would cost Bt500 million to Bt600 million to boost tourist safety in the Andaman Sea, he said.
 Meanwhile, the Phuket governor and other provincial authorities have joined with Vice Admiral Somneuk Prempramoj, commander of the Third-Region Navy responsible for Phuket and other Andaman Sea provinces, to work with harbour operators and other businesses to ensure tourist safety in the wake of the disaster. The government has announced a revamping of safety rules and regulations to prevent future accidents. The large number of vessels, boat services and even harbours in Phuket alone present a challenge for properly regulating the industry.

The Navy has sent its personnel to help provincial authorities restore confidence and to help upgrade the safety system by issuing early warnings on bad weather. Tourism authorities and others must step up preventive safety measures, such as ensuring passengers are taught how to use safety vests.

Somnuek said the Navy would propose that the central government use Article 44 of the charter to empower Phuket authorities to fast-track enforcement of rules and regulations to boost safety.

Meanwhile, Woraluk Reukch-aikan, managing director of TC Blue Dream Co, owner of the ill-fated Pheonix tourist boat, surrendered on Saturday and will appear in court today to seek release on bail. 

Relatives of the 29 victims killed in the accident have been paid more than Bt60 million in combined compensation. Altogether, 46 bodies have been recovered from the sea, while authorities are still attempting to recover another body struck in the boat’s wreckage and another passenger is still missing.

Source - TheNation