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[ARTICLE] Assessment of Measures of Assistance to Tourists Subsequent to the Tsunami of 26 December 2004 in Phuket

in revue Tourisme n°16
Octobre 2008 - 23 pages - 3.00€ (pdf)

Présentation. This paper aims to assess the rescue operations to help tsunami victims in Phuket and to provide the findings to government agencies and other parties involved in improving measures for dealing with future natural disasters. The assessment was undertaken from 28-31 December 2004 using questionnaires filled by survivors of the disaster during their wait in the departure lounge for flights out of Phuket International Airport. A total of 323 questionnaires were returned at the end of 31 December, 2004. The number of respondents from 28 countries based on number of questionnaires returned is as follows: Sweden 64 (19,8%), Finland 42 (13%), Britain 35 (10,8%), Germany 34 (10,5%), Norway 25 (7,7%), Australia 19 (5,9%), Denmark 12 (3,7%), United States 12 (3,7%), Switzerland 8 (2,5%), Austria 7 (2,2%), Canada 7 (2,2%), Russia 2 (2,2%), France 6 (1,9%), Japan 6 (1,9%), and Italy 6 (1,9%). There were 5 respondents from South Africa, Others, 4 (1,2%), Indonesia 3 (0,9%), China and New Zealand 3 each (0,9%). The Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 2 each, while Kuwait, Singapore and Taiwan had 1 each. Based on the study, the recommendations to the all stakeholders of the tourism industry in Phuket are outlined : (1) All stakeholders of the tourism industry in Phuket should take all comments and recommendations into consideration for developing standard operating procedures to deal with unexpected crises such as a tsunami or other incidents, either natural or man-made; (2) There is a need to set up a permanent information and rescue team at the main tourism sites, i.e. beaches. This centre should be administered by a local administration organization. Each centre should be networked to or coordinated by a central unit at the provincial level; (3) All stakeholders should pay more attention to human resources development of both frontline and management staff. We have look back at the uniqueness of our Thai way of life, traditional practices, and old culture. In terms of competition with other destinations, we have to differentiate our tourism products and services by using our uniqueness, our “Thai-ness”, (4) To sustain tourism development it is very important for local people to participate in and be involved in tourism development. Education at primary or secondary schools in the local community should develop a curriculum on the value of tourists, their economic, social and cultural benefits, and also the risks associated with the tourism industry; (5) At the managerial level in hospitality and tourism, we also need to employ those who understand the Thai outlook and value system. They should be able to develop a unique Thai cultural management style. We might have to step back from being materialist and manage our industry in a way consistent with our Thai cultural heritage. We need to develop Thai personnel to fill the top positions in the hospitality industry; (6) Frontline staff in hotels, tour operators as well as the local Thai people need to acquire language skills to deal with different market segments. (7) The Thai hospitality industry should emphasis the uniqueness of Thai hospitality to differentiate their products and services as its competitive advantage.

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