Phuket boat trips to boom over Songkran festival
PHUKET: Tourists travelling by boat and ferry around this southern island province are expected to reach 10,000 per day during the five-day Songkran holiday which begins on Wednesday, local authorities said.
Natchapong Pranit, director of the Regional Marine Office's Phuket Branch, said there are 22 piers in Phuket and tourist numbers have doubled.
Rassada Pier, which usually serves about 800 tourists a day, saw the number jump to 2,000-3,000 on the eve of the Songkran holiday while passengers at Chalong Pier, which normally sees 400-500 tourists per day, climbed to the same level on Monday, Mr Natchapong said.
The number of tourists showing up at the 22 piers to take boat trips around Phuket is expected to reach about 10,000 per day during the festival, he said.
Tourists prefer to take boat trips to nearby islands, Mr Natchapong said. Among the hot spots is Coral Island, known in Thai as Koh Hae, which is popular among divers and snorkellers.
Another tourist magnet for day-trippers and scuba divers is Racha Island or Koh Racha Yai.
Deputy Phuket governor Phichet Panapong on Tuesday took local authorities to inspect Rassada Pier, the main pier for boats and ferries travelling to and from the islands off the coast of Phuket.
He said the pier and ferries are in good condition for service and adequately equipped with life jackets and resuscitation devices to help those in need.
During the inspection, tourists were seen complying with Covid-19 containment measures, he said, adding there appeared to be more Thai tourists than foreign visitors this year.
Marine police also have stepped up their patrols at sea to ensure safety for travellers.
In the event of a fire breaking out on a boat or ferry, staff have been trained to use fire extinguishers and will contact authorities on land to send help to take people to safety, Mr Phichet said. First aid will be provided to people in need before they are taken to hospital.