Tourist Safety in Thailand Questioned by Russian Union of Travel Industry

Adriana Smirnova, 25.11.2013 23:28
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Russian Union of Travel Industry has sent a letter to Thailand’s tourism minister Somsak Pureesrisak voicing concerns about the safety of Russian tourists in the country, as TRN magazine has learnt from the Union.
This year’s statistic shows that from October to November there have been 6 transport-related accidents: a passenger ferry wreck and 5 road accidents, 3 of which involved excursion buses. 3 people were killed in the accidents and 91 injured.
The Union’s letter states: “These figures lead us to believe that Thai authorities do not pay sufficient attention to ensuring the safety of road and water transportation. We insist that additional measures should be taken to reduce the number of road accidents.”
The Union also detailed a number of measures that can be taken to ameliorate the situation, among them are: maintenance of the vehicles used by travel agencies for sightseeing tours, implementing passenger safety standards for travel routes, equipping all buses with accident data recorders, monitoring transportation staff’s qualification and labor conditions.
Earlier the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) voiced its firm determination to make their Thai colleagues raise the safety standards for Russian tourists.
“The Federal Agency for Tourism has urged Thai Ministry of Sport and Culture time and again to include a provision for ensuring the safety of Russian tourists staying in the country in the joint action program for enforcing the Agreement on cooperation in the sphere of tourism between the Russian government and the government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Unfortunately, no action was taken on these suggestions,” reads the Agency’s statement.  
Civic Chamber expert Dmitry Davydenko says that during the last years the number of tourists visiting the country has risen dramatically, and the road infrastructure cannot cope.

“I think that if they want to maintain good reputation they will heed our concerns, like they did in Egypt, to cite one example. Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism are to hold a meeting devoted to this issue,” he informed us.
It should be noted that the majority of the accident victims are those Russian tourists who buy services from local travel companies.
“We strongly recommend that tourists choose the companies that work with Russian travel agencies. Normally these companies are very careful about the drivers’ qualification, bus maintenance and insurance,” says the Federal Agency’s press secretary Irina Shchegolkova.
Dmitry Davydenko thinks that trying to persuade Russian tourists not to buy services from street agencies is a futile task.
“Generally these travel companies offer significantly cheaper prices than the Russian ones, and the majority of our compatriots will jump at any opportunity to save money. The situation can change only if Russian travel agencies set lower prices,” he states.
Страны, регионы и города: Russia, Thailand
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