For the first time, marine researchers were sampling the quality of seawater at Patong beach, right on the beach. For the first time, the results from Patong and Phuket's other beaches will be published.
And for the first time, there's hope that a turning point has been reached in Phuket's attitude towards the sea and the bounty it delivers to the island in terms of tourism.
Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud apparently liked what he saw today. He could have stayed five minutes, said a few things, and moved on.
Instead, the governor stayed and stayed today, asking how the process works then personally briefing a couple of journalists who turned up late for his talk.
The level of media interest was a good sign, too. The significance of the tests of seawater quality should be taught to everybody on Phuket.
If the seawater is kept clean and healthy, Phuket has a future forever as a tourist destination. If the seawater is allowed to become polluted, tourism on Phuket will be short-lived.
Dr Pornsri Suthanarak, Director of Regional Environment Office 15, Phuket, and Dr Daroonwan Schwartz, Laboratory Specialist at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, supervised today's sample-taking.
More samples are to be taken each two months at beaches all around Phuket, on the beach and 100 metres offshore.
Governor Maitree said it was ''all about the safety of the seawater.''
Dr Pornsri said: ''Whatever the quality is, we are going to let people know. We want them to feel safe in the water, or to know where they can go to feel safe.''
Initial results showed today's Patong sampling was within the acceptable range but the tests for bacteria will produce results in about five days.
Looking on today was France's honorary consul designate, Claude De Crissey. Support for the tests has also come from Germany honorary consul Dirk Naumann and the Netherlands honorary consul, Seven Smulders.