NEW figures have been released concerning tourist deaths in Thailand and they are so worrying that the local government has finally promised to work on improving visitor safety. There was a 54 per cent jump in the number of tourist deaths at Australia’s much-loved holiday destination last year, according to a report by Thailand’s Bureau of Prevention and Assistance in Tourist Fraud.
Data collected from the ministry’s 10 regional offices showed that while 83 foreign travellers died in 2015, another 166 were injured (a drop of 160 per cent year on year). While the main cause of death was road accidents (34), swimming and boating accidents claimed nine lives, congenital disease six, suicides four, and other causes 30.
The statistics showed that in 2015, visitors had a 1 in 301,204 chance of dying in Thailand, including a 1 in 735,294 chance of being killed in a road crash. However, figures from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) over a similar time frame suggest this is just the tip of the iceberg. Between July 2014, and June 2015, DFAT recorded 109 deaths of Australians in Thailand, that’s not even factoring in tourists from other countries.
Either way, they are numbers that authorities say cannot be ignored any longer. Pongpanu Svetarundra, Sports and Tourism Ministry secretary, told the Bangkok Post: “In the past, we did not deal with the root causes of the tourist safety problem. From now on, we will look at the issue and address it seriously.” Meetings have been held between government officials to address the issue, with a study on water accidents set to be conducted in Krabi, and road accident data will be gathered in Chiang Mai.