Marine sports operator helps lead resurgence in Asian tourists

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Looking to assure tourists that Pattaya’s waters are again safe, a major area water sports and transport company is welcoming their Korean tourists to the beach with lifejackets and a safety briefing.

About 20 staffers from PJ Speed Boat – which offers ferry service to Pattaya’s islands as well as underwater scooters, banana boating, parasailing and jet ski rentals – met the group from Hanatour March 3. They handed out lifejackets and instructed the visitors safety and emergency procedures.

A handful of Korean tourists model the new life jackets as tour employees prepare to hand out hundreds of the safety devices during the day. A handful of Korean tourists model the new life jackets as tour employees prepare to hand out hundreds of the safety devices during the day.

Owner Raewat Jindasakchai said island tourism and sports suffered in the past year after a string of well-publicized accidents, including incidents where Asian tourists were victims of boat sinkings. Combined with fears over Thailand’s political unrest, tourism revenue from Chinese and Korean customers has fallen from a high of 10 million baht a month a couple of years ago to less than 3 million baht a month now.

However, he said, tourism is recovering and his company is back to 120 employees, down only 30 staffers from its peak.

Korean interpreter Kem-Ung Man said South Korean tourists are very conscious of safety and comfort. In order to win that trade back, he said Pattaya businesses will need to improve their safety record.