Connect with us

Thai Life

On Deck: Double-edged sword of marine tourism

Published

 on 

PHUKET: 2015 has been an ‘interesting’ year tourism-wise for Phuket, and, in my opinion, will go down in history as the one when Phuket’s visitor demographics shifted seismically. The ‘Asian Century’ is truly here.

In Phuket’s marine world, the number of people out on the water, enjoying the island and its marine treasures, is at an all time high, thanks mainly to the number of Chinese visiting Phuket. But, with this comes added pressure. I covered this in my last column so won’t dwell on it again here, but let’s take a whistle-stop flashback tour of 2015 with regards to Phuket marine tourism, along with some of the key issues.

SAFETY

Thailand’s marine safety record is not the best in the world. It is far better than the country’s road safety record, however, but it’s still far from where it needs to be. Boat accidents, fires, sinkings, tourist injuries and even death – these sorts of headlines have been seen regularly. That said, I believe there has been, for the first time in my nearly twenty years on this island, a genuine safety effort from the powers-that-be. There’s still much more that needs to improve in the safety aspects of marine tourism and commercial marine industries but let’s hope this trend from authorities to try and address the issues continues into 2016 and picks up pace.

JET-SKIS

There have been lots of headlines on jet skis in Phuket this year and the Phuket Gazette has covered the issues case-by-case, as the legality of this industry seems paper-thin at best. In principle, a jet-ski is fine when in the right place and used properly. The issues are with the beach-based jet skis, their ‘owners’ and the users. Noise, nuisance and safety are the issues that will not be addressed. Clearly this is the responsibility of the Phuket Marine Chief, who has said on many occasions that there is ‘no problem’; that he’s ‘never received a complaint’; and my favorite, ‘this is their last warning’ (again). Or words to that effect.

If you missed the recent announcement: the Phuket Marine Chief has now been appointed Acting Director of the Marine Office Region Five covering Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, Ranong and Satun. With Phang Nga and Krabi currently ‘no jet-ski zones’. I have a heavy heart for their future.

SUPERYACHTS

Lots of buzz has been created about the 12-month superyacht charter licence. I haven’t heard anyone against it in principle, and in my opinion it is a positive step by central government. However, there’s still a long way to go to make the charter license a practical reality, and the magnet we all want to attract superyachts to come and charter here.

While the superyachts have got the ‘suits’ in Bangkok excited, perhaps it has deflected attention away from other parts of the industry. There are many areas in which the government can help and support Thailand’s marine industry and contribute to its growth. What is needed is a long-term vision that goes beyond vested interests and encompasses the entire industry.

ENVIRONMENTAL DETERIORATION

From sailors to snorkellers, charterers, day-trippers and divers, all of them put pressure on the Andaman’s marine environment, yet there is little attention given to conservation or preservation of the marine ecosystem which attracts millions of visitors to Phuket each year. When will this change?

Putting that into perspective, land environments, protected or otherwise, receive scant environmental protection as well. It’s time the natural environment made it onto a priority list of central and local governments rather than remain rhetoric.

These are just a few of the hot topics in Phuket and Thailand’s marine industry this year, there are many more and no doubt there will be more in 2016. Top of my 2016 New Year’s wish list is for better dialogue between public and private sectors, which engages all stakeholders, no matter their size. All voices need to be heard.

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications (www.infinity-comms.com) consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal www.MarineScene.asia. #OnDeckPhuket

— Duncan Worthington

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism21 mins ago

Another long weekend brings huge crowds to Surat Thani

Travel27 mins ago

Best diving schools in Koh Samui for 2022

Crime31 mins ago

1 dead, 4 injured as gunmen rampage at a Bangkok wedding

Sponsored3 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Crime46 mins ago

Tenant fined 140,000 baht for keeping dog in Bangkok condominium

Pattaya60 mins ago

Speedo-wearing middle-aged joggers in Jomtien cause uproar

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand No.1 in the world for a wellness retreat

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Health1 hour ago

Which type of health insurance do you need in Thailand?

Thailand2 hours ago

Gunman wounds 8 in Jerusalem, 48 dead in Israeli Gaza strikes

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand among top 5 destinations for Chinese travelers | GMT

Travel14 hours ago

Where to find underrated international cuisines in Bangkok

Bangkok15 hours ago

Chinatown manhole covers to use art, tech to become cultural map

Transport16 hours ago

Man fights Indian Railways for 22 years for justice (and 9 baht)

Events18 hours ago

Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

Crime18 hours ago

Thais cautioned against fake government websites

Thailand19 hours ago

Another Thai boxer dies from brain injury after fight in Malaysia

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending