Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Thailand takes steps to improve transport safety for tourists

The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) is joining hands with state agencies including the Department of Land Transport, Marine Department and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to improve tourist safety standards nationwide and overturn perceptions of the country as a dangerous tourist destination.

TCT revealed that countries such as the UK and China have expressed concerns about their citizens travelling to Thailand amid the kingdom’s inadequate safety standards.

First to launch this April will be safety standards for tour buses. Apart from vehicle checks, bus drivers must be trained regarding tour services, have limited driving hours and drive responsibly.

At least 1,000 tour buses out of 15,000 buses nationwide should meet the standards within this year, assured TCT’s vice president Wasuchet Sophonsathien.

Wasuchet, who is also the president of the Thai Transportation Operators Association, added that certified tour buses would also receive a safety standard logo. Government bodies like the TAT, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, will promote the logo and set an example by using these certified buses.

The logo will be publicised through Chinese government websites as well, he noted.

In addition, TCT members in popular beach destinations including Pattaya, Phuket and Krabi have been working closely with the Thai Marine Department and local tour operators to look for illegal tour boats and unlicensed captains since the Phuket boat tragedy in mid-2018. Hundreds of arrests have been made.

Wasuchet further revealed TCT will be launching tour boat standards by the end of this year. Plans for the next two years include getting tour boat operators to install GPS devices and providing GPS tracking wristbands to their passengers.

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