Opinion: The recent hotel fire in Bangkok

Andrew J Wood
President, Skål International Thailand

ANDREW J Wood, president, Skål International Thailand has raised several points regarding the recent blaze at Grand Park Avenue Hotel in Bangkok, which resulted in the death of two guests and injuries to 20 others.

In an email to TTG Asia Media, Wood said:

·      I strongly urge independent inspections of all categories of accommodation in Thailand, especially ‘older’ buildings built in the 80’s and 90’s, before our current legislation was introduced.

·      Not addressing the issue of installing fire sprinkler systems in our older and often ‘budget’ category of hotels is irresponsible, and will put our golden goose (international tourism) under increased pressure.

·      There are a number of ‘health & safety’ companies which have been set up recently in Thailand that can assist and advise hotel accommodation providers on fire, health and safety issues.

·      The legislation in Europe is particularly detailed and complex. Failure to comply will lead to refusal by travel consultants/wholesalers/tour operators to use a product, as the legal and financial implications of failing to comply are significant.

·      It is important not to take any short cuts – this would create a false economy in the long term, and is very possibly illegal as well as unsafe.

·      I would also like to see the Thai hospitality industry be its own watchdog with reassurances of action and follow-up by Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai Hotel Association. After all, its members, the GMs and hotel engineers are the ones who are legally responsible, not the owners.

·      And finally, in the interest of good communication and public service, efforts should be made to set the safety bar higher, through the introduction of a new certification system for buildings of all ages covering fire health & safety.

By Andrew Wood, president, Skål International Thailand

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