New life jacket standards to be launched in Phuket
The Tourism and Sports Ministry has teamed up with the Transport Ministry to introduce standards for life jackets next month in a bid to improve tourist safety.
Land and water accidents are frequent, hurting Thai tourism’s image. The project is aimed at raising tourist confidence in the safety of Thai public transport.
The Transport Ministry is responsible for the design, while the Tourism and Sports Ministry will help to pay for small tourism operators that cannot afford the new jackets.
The life jackets will be launched next month at popular beach destinations such as Phuket and Pattaya, each priced from 450-500 baht.
The Marine Department has safety regulations for water transport.
Those riding jet skis must wear life jackets, boat pilots must be licensed, and boats must have adequate and standard safety equipment on board for passengers. Jet ski rental operators must have insurance for clients.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Tourism and Sports Minister, said the ministry would help to monitor enforcement of safety regulations at tourist destinations as well.
Pattaya has a zone for water sports to avoid accidents. Similar zoning will be applied in Phuket soon.
Ms Kobkarn said safety was necessary to develop sustainable tourism here. Both ministries will set up a working committee to jointly supervise tourism safety.
“We’ll also discuss ways to deal with unregistered taxis and rental cars with the Commerce Ministry. They must be registered. We cracked down on the taxi mafia in Phuket, but the taxi, public van and motorcycle taxi system on the island must be reformed,” she said.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is working on tourism plans and strategies to be proposed to the government next February.
Ms Kobkarn will review the National Tourism Development Plan for 2012-16 to ensure it forms part of a long-term plan.