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Thailand wins six PATA Grand and Gold Awards 2018

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin_tat on 2018/7/23 10:00:00 (111 reads)


The TAT's 'Cruising through the Cave' picture of Tham Lot in Mae Hong Son province wins a Gold Award
in the Travel Journalism - Travel Photograph category



The Tourism Authority of Thailand reaps one Grand Award and three Gold Awards


Bangkok, 23 July, 2018 - The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and two Thai tourism operators among the 27 organisations and individuals to receive the prestigious 2018 PATA Grand and Gold Awards.

2018 PATA Grand Awards

TAT will receive a Grand Award for Education and Training for its 'King's Wisdom for Sustainable Tourism' project, a collaboration between TAT and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Thailand, according PATA's announcement. (Also see: Thailand introduces four sustainable tourism communities to honour King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's sustainable tourism philosophy promoted in Chanthaboon Riverside Community)

"The project uses the principles of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's "sufficiency economy philosophy" in its work towards four primary objectives: to be able to continue working on the King's principle to restore local wisdom and promote sustainable tourism, stimulate domestic tourism, create value in the tourist areas in order to increase revenue, and promote human resources development and strengthen the community to think and do by themselves leading to sustainable development," said the announcement.

Another Grand Award for Thailand goes to the Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Camps, Thailand, in the Environmental category. The Award recognises the Camps' various activities including its Elephant Conservation Project, Children's Project, and Wildlife Monitoring Project. They also organise a smaller project called CO2 offset, which allows them to seek ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Last year, the Camps won the 2017 PATA Gold Award in the Environmental - Ecotourism Project category.

2018 PATA Gold Awards

TAT is also the proud winner of three 2018 PATA Gold Awards. Its 'Amazing Green Thailand: A'maze 2017" wins a Gold Award in the Marketing - Primary Government Destination, while the online campaign '6Senses of Local Experience in Thailand' wins a Gold Award in the Culture category, and the 'Cruising through the Cave' picture wins another Gold Award in the Travel Journalism - Travel Photograph category.

Meanwhile, another Gold Award for Thailand goes to Local Alike, a Travel Social Enterprise, in the Community-based Tourism category.

The Awards presentation ceremony is scheduled to take place in Langkawi, Malaysia on 14 September, during the PATA Travel Mart 2018.


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Bangkok, 19 July, 2018 - H.E. Mr. Lyu Jian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, yesterday met with H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand's Minister of Tourism and Sports, to extend his gratitude and appreciation to the Thai government and all involved for the unity of efforts exerted over the last two weeks to provide support and comfort to the injured tourists and people who lost their loved ones.





The meeting took place at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Bangkok.

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Issued at 12.00 Hrs. (GMT+7) on 18 July 2018


First, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) once again extends our sincere sympathies and condolences to all tourists and their families who have experienced injury or suffered losses in this tragic event.

TAT and all concerned agencies in the public and private sectors will continue to do what we can to provide support to the injured tourists and people who lost their loved ones. We would also like to take this opportunity to offer an overview of the emergency response and assistance effort extended over the last two weeks.

The Incidents

On 5 July, 2018, two tour boats and a jet ski capsized off Phuket. The Phoenix capsized and sank near Ko Hei (Coral Island) south of Phuket with 89 tourists; 42 were saved while 47 died. The Sereniga capsized and sank off Ko Maithon, southeast of Phuket with 35 tourists; all were saved. In addition, a jet ski with two drivers capsized near Ko Racha, south of Phuket; both were saved.

The Emergency Response

Immediately after the incident, officials, volunteers and locals in the area were fully mobilised in the search-and-rescue operation, with a 24/7 'Command and Rescue Centre of the Capsizing Incident' opened at Chalong Pier. The 11-day operation saved 79 lives and ended on 15 July when the integrated search team successfully retrieved the 47th body from the site of the sunken Phoenix. (Last body retrieved, one-minute silence observed for 47 victims)

The search team members comprised officers and personnel from the Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Air Force, Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command's Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre, Phuket Province and Thai Marine Police. There were joined by rescue workers from China's Guangzhou Salvage and volunteers from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland and Thailand.

The 11-day, sea-air-land search operations involved more than 80 boat trips, 60 helicopter trips as well as thousands of military officers and personnel, rescue workers and volunteers.

The Assistance Effort



Immediately after the incident, all responsible agencies in the public and private sectors have made every effort to provide support for the affected tourists and people who lost their loved ones.

  • Phuket International Airport opened a 'Tourist Assistance Co-ordinating Centre' at its International Terminal's 1st Floor and 3rd Floor and the Domestic Terminal's 1st Floor, in cooperation with Phuket Province, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, TAT Phuket Office, Phuket Immigration Office, Phuket Customs House, the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Songkhla, Tourist Police, Thai Hotels Association (THA), Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), Phuket Tourist Association, Phuket Chinese-Speaking Tourist Club, Andaman Tourist Guide Association, and Phuket Professional Tourist Guide Association.

  • A 24/7Phuket Tourist Assistance Co-ordinating Centre was set up at Vachira Phuket Hospital to provide support to all affected tourists and their families, including coordinating with responsible public and private agencies on matters like taking the deceased's body back home, legalising proof of relationship documents, and arranging funerals.

  • Vachira Phuket Hospital also served as a centre for an identity verification process by an integrated team of forensic experts from the Provincial Police Division Region 8, the Office of Police Forensic Science, the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Phuket Provincial Police, Police Forensic Science Centre 8 and Vachira Phuket Hospital. The team also coordinated with Chinese consular officials on autopsies and the identity verification processes for all 47 victims.

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing and the Royal Thai Consulate-General in 10 Chinese cities provided urgent visas and waived visa fees as well as coordinated with the Phuket Immigration Office for urgent visa-on-arrival processing for family members of the victims. The urgent services were provided for 38 visa applicants between 6-9 July.

  • Phuket Immigration Office opened a 'fast-track' lane for family members of the victims and coordinated their arrivals with the Airport's 'Tourist Assistance Co-ordinating Centre' to ensure seamless local support.

  • ATTA provided local transfers with 20 vans and 20 Chinese-speaking interpreters to support the arrival of family members of the victims with local communication and arrangement.

  • The THA Southern Chapter, Patong Hotel Association and Phuket Tourist Association provided accommodation, offering 500 room nights from 50 hotels, and local transfers for the affected tourists and families of the victims during 7-15 July.

  • The Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Songkhla opened a Hotline Number 15587003732 to provide urgent phone support for family members of the victims.

  • Phuket City Development , Ltd. provided local transfer services between Phuket International Airport and the hospitals.

  • A team of psychiatrists from Suan Saranrom Hospital in Surat Thani travelled to Phuket to provide care to the affected tourists and family members of the victims.
  • Thailand's major telephone service providers, AIS, TrueMove and DTAC provided international and domestic calls for affected tourists and families of the victims at Vachira Phuket Hospital, Phuket Province Hospital and Chalong Bay.

  • A 'centre for funeral arrangements' was set up at Wat Kosit Wihan in Mueang district, Phuket, by the Phuket Provincial Cultural Office with cooperation from the Department of Religious Affairs, the National Office of Buddhism, Kusoldharm Phuket Foundation, Tourist Assistance Centre Phuket, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Centre has arranged funerals for 40 victims and sent seven other bodies back home.

  • The Ministry of Tourism and Sports' Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund and respective insurance firms have so far paid 61,928,000 Baht in total compensation for injured tourists and families of those who lost their lives.

  • A 24/7 'Command and Rescue Centre of the Capsizing Incident' was opened at the Phuket Provincial Hall from 13 July to provide a one-stop service to all the affected tourists and family members of the victims at all fronts.



Safety Standards

Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered tighter tourist safety and security measures and called for effectiveness and consistent law enforcement at all times.

Thai authorities have announced an action plan to improve safety standards and confidence in Thailand as a safe tourist destination at a joint press conference held on 17 July in Phuket (to read more, click: Action plan announced to improve marine tourism safety)



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Phuket, 17 July, 2018 - Thai authorities have announced an action plan to improve safety standards and confidence in Thailand as a safe tourist destination at a joint press conference held this morning at the Phuket Yacht Control Centre at Chalong Pier.



At the event, Mr. Norraphat Plodthong, Phuket Provincial Governor, was joined by Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand; Vice Admiral Somnuk Preampramot, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area Command; Mr. Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Director of Marine Office Region 3, and Mr. Pracha Asawateera, District Manager of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.

The action plan to be brought into effect in Phuket and nearby provinces along the Andaman Coast are:


  • Set up checkpoints at piers where officials can perform safety checks before tour boats depart including the boat's maintenance and condition, passenger screening and ensuring that numbers do not exceed the limit, operators' licenses, conditions of captains and crews in terms of drugs and alcohol, the routings and mandatory GPS devices.

  • The Marine Department has reiterated its strict enforcement to ensure that boat operators comply with water safety laws and regulations. The number of passengers should not exceed the limit that each boat can legally carry. All passengers and crew are required to wear life jackets at all times when on the boat. Boat captain must have a relevant license. Staff should be equipped with foreign language skills to adequately communicate with passengers on safety guidelines. If these regulations are violated, or if a vessel is found to be overloaded, licenses will be revoked immediately.

  • The Thai Meteorological Department has been instructed to step up its weather warnings, especially for severe weather outlooks; the alerts must be issued every hour.

  • The Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area Command has been designated as the lead agency on setting up 'a joint maritime rescue coordination centre' at Chalong Pier. The 24/7 centre, to be equipped with three boats and rescue equipment, will be operated in cooperation with all involved agencies including the Thai Customs Department, Department of Fisheries, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and Thai and foreign volunteers.

  • Chalong Pier to receive 38 additional CCTV cameras.

  • The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) is in the process of launching a mobile application; namely, 'signature of Phuket', to provide information on safety standards and guidelines, so tourists in Phuket can enjoy the pristine beaches and emerald sea of the Andaman Sea.

  • A wristband tracking system is to be introduce at Ao Po Grand Marina. Tourists can voluntarily buy a 100-Baht wristband and register its QR code plus their personal details onto the system, which can track tourists and boat locations in case of emergency. It also provides an insurance coverage of one million Baht in case of death and 500,000 Baht for medical expenses.





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Issued at 10.00 Hrs. (GMT+7) on 16 July 2018


The 'Command and Rescue Centre of the Capsizing Incident' at the Phuket Provincial Hall has provided the latest update that an autopsy and identity verification process is underway for the 47th body retrieved last night. Thereafter, a funeral will be held for the last victim at a local temple in Phuket.

Authorities have already arranged funerals for 39 victims and sent seven other bodies back home.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports' Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund and respective insurance firms have so far paid 61,928,000 Baht in total compensation for injured tourists and families of those who lost their lives.

The families of 29 victims from the sunken boat, Phoenix, have received 2.1 million Baht each, comprising one million Baht from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports' Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund, one million Baht from Bangkok Insurance, and another 100,000 Baht from ThaiSri Insurance.

The Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund was also paid for mental rehabilitation of 12 tourists at 20,000 Baht each. Of these, 11 tourists also claimed for the disruption of travel and were paid 88,000 Baht in total.

Meanwhile, 35 passengers of another sunken boat, Sereniga, have submitted petitions for mental rehabilitation at 700,000 Baht in total. Two passengers expressed no intention to claim for compensation while two others did not board the boat.
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