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Phuket officially opens tourist assistance centre

A Bt15-million tourist assistance centre was officially opened on this southern resort island of Phuket to offer…

A Bt15-million tourist assistance centre was officially opened on this southern resort island of Phuket to offer rapid assistance to visitors both on land and on the sea.

Opening the centre at the Ao Chalong tourist pier, provincial governor Phongphayom Wassaphuthi said that the centre had been made possible by a Bt15 million economic stimulus package from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The centre, which includes a radio centre, ambulances and boats, will be the responsibility of the provincial administrative organization.

As part of the programme, the province has trained volunteer lifeguards and beach guards, as well as radio operators.

The centre will coordinate closely with the marine police, the Department of Marine Transportation, the Royal Thai Navy, customs officials, local charities, and public and private sector hospitals.

Mr. Phongphayom said that initial pilot operations at the centre had been extremely successful, with an achievement rate of 80 percent.

Dr. Prasit Koysiriphong, president of the provincial administrative organization, said that the centre would receive information from various agencies, and pass this information on to organizations able to come to the rapid assistance of tourists.

Noting that Phuket had an extensive coastline and was surrounded by sea, he cited figures showing that a large number of tourists drowned each year.

However, he expressed confidence that the official opening of the centre would help reduce these figures.

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