The Nation



'Water Sport Day' aims to convince that all is well at Ao Phrao

Rayong's provincial governor and the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department will today hold a "Water Sport Day" at Ao Phrao on Koh Samet to confirm that the beach and the sea are safe and ready to welcome tourists during the high season.

The beach and surrounding sea were badly damaged by an oil spill after an offshore pipeline leak in the Gulf of Thailand in late July.

Governor Vichit Chatpaisit and Nipon Chotibal, deputy director-general of the department, are jointly staging the event in a bid to boost confidence among Thai and foreign tourists. Leading Thai movie stars have also been invited to take part in the water-sport competitions.

"The main purpose of this event is that we want to restore and promote tourism in the province, and especially in Ao Phrao, Koh Samet, through water sports, as they are among the activities that most tourists like to enjoy when they are by the sea.

"And we believe that this Water Sport Day can help build confidence among tourists and persuade them that the sea off Ao Phrao is clean and the spilled oil has been has been completely eliminated. We can confirm that everything is back to normal," Vichit said.

The water-sports events have been divided into three kinds: running-on-water racing, water polo and banana-boat racing.

Celebrities such as Pancake Kemanit, Pooklook Fonthip, Tao Somchai and Ken Phuphum have been invited to play these sports, which should help reassure potential visitors that the sea is clean and safe, he said, guaranteeing that there would be no side effects at all.

Nipon, meanwhile, said: "The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has been continuously monitoring the cleanliness of the sea and nearby areas, and we can confirm that Ao Phrao is 100 per cent safe and ready for tourists to explore with nothing to worry about.

"Regarding the safety of the sea, which many people are worried about, we can reaffirm that tourists can get into the sea safely. They can enjoy the clean seawater all day long without any side effects. Many people are concerned about when they are in the water and unintentionally swallow some water, will chemicals in the sea contaminate them? In fact, it is not what you think.

"You can think of it like eating your food. If you do not make your food clean and safe, you gradually ingest toxins that contaminate your food, little by little, day by day, until one day the amount of toxin has increased and your body gets weak, then you can get ill eventually. So I hope everyone can understand what I am trying to say."

The Rayong governor said: "To help us accomplish our goal of attracting tourists to come back to Ao Phrao, Koh Samet, I ask you, dear members of the media, for your help. Please help us promote this event and promote our beautiful and peaceful beach of Ao Phrao as one of the most favourite destinations for Thai and foreign tourists, as it has always been.

"And that will help generate revenue for local people and boost the country's revenue from tourism, as well."

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