While Thailand is generally perceived as a safe destination, local tour operators believe that more could be done to improve the safety standards to prevent fatal incidents and injuries involving tourists in the country.
Chotechuang Soorangura, associate managing director of NS Travel & Tours, stated that the safety measures for foreign tourists in Thailand are not adequate due to lax rules and weak enforcement.
“Tourist safety in Thailand is considered less than advanced countries such as Switzerland where the tourism authority takes safety regulations seriously. For example, they will examine their cable cars regularly to ensure the safety of tourists visiting the Alps,” said Chotechuang.
On the contrary, new laws to improve safety standards were only introduced by the Thai authorities following recent zipline injuries and accidents in Chiang Mai, he added.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Sports needs to seriously put regulations into effect and inspect tourism activities regularly in order to solve the tourist safety problem in the long term,” Chotechuang urged.
Accidents involving tourists in Thailand also stem from miscommunication, he noted. It is not uncommon for Chinese tourists to misunderstand warning signs – for example, a red flag at the beach may not be interpreted as a sign against swimming in the sea.
Tour operators also err on the safe side by deploying their own safety standards to select reliable suppliers in the country.
“As a tour operator, Diethelm Travel always takes our responsibilities very seriously in selecting products and suppliers that not only have all necessary operating licences and insurance policies, but also meet our own strict health and safety guidelines,” Oscar Lopera, group product and contracting director of Diethelm Travel Group told TTG Asia.