Hoteliers: Poor speedboat safety damaging tourism

Hoteliers: Poor speedboat safety damaging tourism

Speedboats race for service off Pattaya City (photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Speedboats race for service off Pattaya City (photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Thai Hotels Association has called for stringent efforts to guarantee tourists' safety, especially on ferry speedboats, after a series of fatal collisions at sea in the past two weeks.

Association president Supawan Tanomkieatipume said on Thursday that members were seriously concerned about tourist safety.

She asked the government, through the Tourism and Sports Ministry, to act urgently to solve safety problems and protect the competitiveness of the country's tourism industry.

"We will lose business to our rivals if the government allows these accidents to happen time and time again. We want to see a concrete standard in place," she said.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said on Thursday the ministry was working on the problem, together with other government agencies, but it would take time.

She said many accidents were caused by operators who ran their businesses without a licence, by overloading of boats, and by reckless boat drivers.

When accidents occurred, her ministry did its best to take care of the victims.

From May 26 to June 8, there were three accidents involving four speedboats off eastern and southern coasts, killing six foreign tourists and injuring about 60 others.

On May 26 a speedboat capsized in strong seas off Koh Samui island in Surat Thani province and four tourists were killed.

On June 5 another speedboat hit a container ship near Koh Samet island in Rayong province and about 30 tourists were injured.

On June 8, two Chinese tourists died and 34 other tourists were injured when two speedboats collided on their way from Phuket to Phangnga and Krabi provinces.

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