Thai ministries step in to ensure tourist safety


THAILAND has established a set of guidelines to help improve the security and safety of its national parks in response to the tragic death of six tourists.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Dr Suvit Yodmani met with representatives from related government agencies, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand and various ministries.
“Although this was clearly a tragic accident caused by sudden and uncontrollable weather conditions, we are treating it extremely seriously and taking every precautionary and preventive measure possible,” the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Dr Suvit Yodmani said a press conference last month about this incident.
The tours at Khao Sok National Park, where the incident occurred that caused the death of six tourists and two Thai guides have been suspended for the time being.
Measures that have been drawn up include establishing strict rules for tourists visiting areas where there is a high risk of flash-floods especially in monsoon season and that all tour operators will need to be alert to warning signs as well as tour guides adhering to the rules and regulations set down at the tourist sites.
In addition, all provincial national parks will have to submit to the provincial governors a list of all the areas that could pose a risk to safety and it will also be their responsibility to discuss the possibility of closing off the site temporarily during the monsoon season.
The Department of National Park Wildlife and Flora will have complete automatic authority to suspend tourism activities in any of the parks if they have deemed the park too risky for activity.
A clear and simple colour scheme will be put into place to communicate the risk level, with red being the most dangerous.
A call centre will be set up by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation with the Provincial Governor at being the head of the Tourist Assistance Centre in each of their respective provinces.
They will set up the Special Tourist Assistant Unit Centre and develop a team that includes Tourism and Recreation Sports Provincial Centres and TAT regional offices.
TAT will be in charge of sending the advisory announcements from the national parks during the monsoon season that to inform the travel community of the situation. TAT will also help tourists who speak languages other than English and will assist them during times of disaster.