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Divers in the water looking to clear rubbish from a popular Phuket site

Phuket Arrivals Boom Boosts Diving, Too

Sunday, October 30, 2011
PHUKET: Diving operators on Phuket and around the Andaman region have been reminded at a seminar of the importance of Australian and European visitors.

While increasing numbers of visitors from China were coming to Phuket, it's the Australians and Europeans who sustain the diving industry, Phuket Tourism Authority of Thailand regional director Bangornrat Shinaprayoon told the seminar.

She said that in 2010, the top nations to visit Phuket were Australia (422,017), Russia (151,945), Britain (134,867), China (131,109), Sweden (127,786) and Korea (108,337).

The high number of Australians and Europeans helped to account for the level of concern about marine safety and the underwater environment, Khun Bangornrat said.

She was speaking to diving operators and a number of students at the TAT-backed Save the Nature @Phuket seminar at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre on Friday.

Yesterday a group of about 50 divers recovered 90 kilos or rubbish from waters around Phuket's Ko He as a practical illustration of the need for more action.

Khun Bangornrat said there were 163 diving companies listed for Phuket, including 28 in Patong. Phang Nga has 34 companies, with 23 on mainland Krabi, 25 on Ko Lanta and 19 on Phi Phi.

The region seemed set for a good high season, she said, with resort bookings running at 70-80 percent this October-November compared to 40-50 percent last year.

In terms of total number of tourists, Khun Bangornrat provided the following statistics for ''Guest Arrivals to Phuket'' over the past few years:

2006 4,499,324 (Foreign 2,882,779) 2007 5,005,653 (Foreign 3,283,410) 2008 5,313,308 (Foreign 3,620,11) 2009 3,375,931 (Foreign 2,488,566) 2010 5,471,218 (Foreign 4,506,026).

The figures indicate that more tourists appear to be coming to Phuket by means other than air. Official AoT figures for Phuket International Airport total just over seven million arrivals and departures in 2010, meaning there were about 3.5 million arrivals.

The Bangkok floods were likely to only affect the number of Thai tourists, she said. Mostly, Thai tourists headed on holidays around the Sonkran New Year period.

Other sources have indicated that many Bangkok families have retreated to Phuket and other destinations - along with international visitors.

While long-term economic effects are going to be felt nationwide, the short-term impact on Phuket appears to have been an early boost in the lead-up to the 2011-2012 high season.
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at the "Save the Nature @Phuket" seminar at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre on Friday, officials from the PMBC and TAT never talked about sea pollution by the fishery industry in Thailand.
They have targetted the wrong industry by inviting diving tour operators only which are already very protective for the sea and marine life.
Can any Thai official explain to us why the 300,000 people working in the fishing industry operating over 100,000 fishing boats including 30,000 large vessels:
- Do not have toilets and holding tanks for human wastes as the have only handlers in the back of fishing boats to shit directly into the sea including near reefs at Similan, Surin or other marine national parks while poaching reef fish.
- Do not have bins to bring back plastic bags, cans and glass-bottles.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on October 30, 2011 12:36


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