A meeting was held yesterday at the Pearl Hotel in Phuket Town, hosted by Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, to discuss the growth of Chinese tourism on the island and ways to ensure their safety.
China’s consul general in Songkhla Zhou Haicheng, director of Beijing’s ministry of culture and tourism Zhang Xinhong and the deputy consul general in Phuket, Ma Cuihong, were among the Chinese visitors.
About 3 million Chinese tourists will visit Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi each year, generating more than Bt100 billion for the region. During the first quarter of 2018, there have been 850,000 Chinese tourists, a 33-per-cent increase on last year.
A total of 49 Chinese tourists have drowned in the three provinces and eight have died in road accidents, while 157 have been injured in the sea and 194 tourists injured in road accidents.
The Phuket Land Transport Office said no tourist bus can be older than 20 years and tourists renting motorbikes will have to provide a driving licence and wear a helmet.
The governor informed the delegation that the police had set up operation centres for tourists and the Royal Thai Navy was providing a team of lifeguards on Karon Beach.
“Many Chinese tourists visit Phuket. We would like them to go back with a good impression and be happy whilst they’re here. We are trying to solve the problems and decrease the number of dangerous incidents.” Norraphat said.
“Next year the administrative organisations [OrBorTor] will hire internationally qualified lifeguards. The Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation will support the budget. A Marine Operation Centre will also be set up at Koh Yao to help monitor Andaman marine safety.
“We appreciate everyone in Phuket who is taking good care of Chinese tourists and paying attention to their safety. Like everyone, we want to see the number of deaths and incidents dropping after these initiatives have been introduced.” Zhou said.