Thailand’s thriving cruise tourism industry has significantly contributed to the country’s economy, with the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center (TMECC) reporting impressive figures. According to TMECC, since the end of 2022, a staggering total of 83 international cruise ships, carrying over 310,000 passengers, have graced Thai shores, generating a remarkable 2 billion baht in tourism-related income.
Highlighting the economic impact of cruise tourism, Navy Commander Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, also the deputy chief of TMECC, shared these astounding statistics. The reported data encompasses the period from October 2022 until now, during which the TMECC has been entrusted with ensuring the safety of tourists aboard cruise ships arriving in the Andaman Seas and the Gulf of Thailand. This commitment to safety aligns harmoniously with the government’s tourism promotion policy, which strives to provide a secure and delightful experience for all visitors.
Adm Choengchai seized the opportunity to observe a groundbreaking medical evacuation drill held on the Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas. With around 5,000 passengers and 1,600 crew members participating, this drill marked a significant milestone as the first of its kind in Thailand. It underscored the TMECC’s unwavering dedication to preparedness and the implementation of robust safety protocols.
As the conclusion of the high tourist season in Thailand’s coastal areas approaches, Adm Choengchai emphasized the importance of conducting further drills when the new tourist season commences in September. These drills serve as crucial exercises, contributing to the TMECC’s response to a recent inspection conducted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which identified areas for improvement.
The IMO assessment shed light on the necessity for a dedicated organization overseeing marine searches and rescues in the event of a major disaster involving large passenger ships. It also emphasized the importance of a standardized operation plan, as well as regular exercises to ensure preparedness. In response to these recommendations, the TMECC has developed its inaugural search and rescue operation plan specifically tailored for incidents involving large ships. Currently, the plan is undergoing review by the Office of the Search and Rescue Commission.
The TMECC’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of passengers and enhancing safety measures not only supports the flourishing cruise tourism industry but also strengthens Thailand’s reputation as a sought-after destination for cruise enthusiasts. With an eye toward continuous improvement, the TMECC remains steadfast in its dedication to ensuring the utmost safety and enjoyment for both local and international visitors exploring Thailand’s coastal treasures.