PHUKET: Several Phuket hotel general managers and marine industry stakeholders met recently to discuss coastal waters safety, agreeing that there will be a renewed push to move the island’s safety standards to the next level – and that they would give their full-hearted support to the recently launched Safer Phuket campaign.
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The meeting was held at Le Meridian Phuket Beach Resort in Karon and hosted by General Manager Rudolf Borgesius, a leader in building safer guest environments, who said the hotel was enthusiastic about the developments in water safety programs.
Jayne Macdougall, director of risk management and loss prevention at Le Meridian added: “Naturally we prioritize the safety of all our guests and we very much welcome this positive initiative that we can work alongside and support. It was a very positive and successful meeting and I am sure it will lead to progress,” he said.
The meeting focused on the core safety areas covering lifeguards, beach management, training of skippers and crew on tourist boats, and a search and rescue service. The beach hotels in particular recognized their need to build links to their local beaches and to encourage their guests to be aware of the risks. It was clear during the meeting that educating guests and then providing safety support structures, such as lifeguards, was essential.
Jantra Julgiyanond, general manager at The Royal Phuket Yacht Club shared this point: “There is evidence from beaches all over the world that our guests feel secure and positive when they see lifeguard towers and safety guidance. I have no doubt that our guests will prefer to swim near lifeguard protected areas – particularly if they have children.”
A point repeatedly highlighted during the meeting was the drive by the overseas travel industry for change in Phuket, with local hotels and travel operators being actively encouraged to ensure that they use other companies that prioritize safety. Brice Borin, general manager at Regent Phuket, Cape Panwa, explained: “We are concerned for our guests’ safety even when they leave our hotel for tours and exploring, and here there can be issues. So for example, if our guests use a tour boat, we can look to ensure that they only use one with a trained and certified skipper and crew.”
Safer Phuket is a not for profit social enterprise that is facilitating improved coastal water safety and has, in its short existence, seen an overwhelming level of support for their vision. Duncan Stewart, the initiative’s founder added: “There is a clear mandate for change from all sides, with a desire for Phuket to set a world standard in marine safety. Today is another step to Phuket building a brand that we can all be proud of. The support of the hotels is essential and we appreciate all they do.”
Claude Sauter, general manager of Panwa Beach Resort endorsed this view: “This was a very constructive meeting and I can see that it helps us run a better hotel. Our view is that safety is about increased profitability, efficiency and brand enhancement as well as guest security and safety. Supporting and partnering with Safer Phuket enables us to do this.”
The meeting introduced a number of constructive ideas for change, ranging from Annual Safety Awards to recognize people and companies who make the most difference, through to fun events such as weekly “JUMPS” for safety on local beaches.
“We have always pioneered and focused on the safety of our guests and we are encouraged by the changes that are now underway and that so many other people and organizations share our values and commitment. We will continue to support and promote a Safer Phuket,” Mr Borgesius concluded.
– Phuket Gazette