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More Protection Required on Tourism Safety, Says THA

Thursday, November 15, 2012
PHUKET: More effort must go into being proactive rather than reactive on tourism safety, says Suchart Hirankanokkul, President of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter.)

Khun Suchart's comments come as tourism officials in Phuket and Krabi ponder the effect of one man's campaign for justice over the alleged rape of his 19-year-old daughter.

The father, a Dutch songwriter and singer, made a video entitled 'Evil Man From Krabi' that he posted on YouTube. This afternoon the video was nudging close to 500,000 viewings, the kind of figure tourism campaigners would love to achieve.

Khun Suchart's view is that prevention is where the national government and local authorities should put the bulk of their efforts.

''It's usually the case that when an incident happens, everybody shows great concern,'' he told Phuketwan. ''But the response is limited.''

A contrast in outcomes comes between the murder of Michelle Smith on Phuket and the apparent brutal beating and rape of the Dutch woman in Krabi.

Mrs Smith's killers were apprehended and sentenced within weeks. Even though the Krabi tour guide stands accused of administering a vicious beating and raping a tourist, he remains free on bail.

One father's angry and highly successful campaign for justice is the unwanted outcome for tourism.

Although the tour guide's guilt has yet to be established beyond doubt, he initially confessed to the crime, just as Michelle Smith's killers did.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand hopes to establish an Ao Nang Safety Zone in Krabi in much the same way as Patong and other parts of Phuket are creating effective community policing zones in the wake of Michelle Smith's murder.

The difference between the two provinces, however, remains that in one, the villains have been brought to justice.

Whether there's a Safety Zone or not, the thought of the possibility of a brutal rapist being on the loose is what will continue to damage tourism in Krabi.

Comments

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I'm wrapt that i found this website through twitter. Thanks to the journalist for getting these stories onto the website. I've been to Phuket plenty of times and while i agree and disagree with certain things on here i am much better informed and greatfull for it. I can take a lot of things for granted when i'm overseas and this site is a good reminder that a developing country still needs to develop.

Posted by Andrew on November 15, 2012 16:37

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Wouldn't a safety zone have an opposite effect? Meaning that tourists would be lulled into a false sense of security thinking they are safe when there is no real guarantee?

Pattaya Walking Street is a so-called Safety Zone and there are crimes committed there nightly.

Posted by larry on November 15, 2012 20:02

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Personally I think the whole idea of 'Safety Zones' is a tourism marketing disaster. This is like saying come to Phuket but don't step outside this area because it's not safe.

I don't know who does the marketing for Phuket but they don't have a clue what they are doing.

It's not difficult to achieve a greater level of safety here on Phuket or other high tourist areas. All you need is the Authorities to start putting more police on the streets - and not just to prevent crime but to help tourists with information.

Posted by Graham on November 15, 2012 21:36


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