However, the importance given to protecting the country’s international image was demonstrated by the reaction to the murder in the resort-laden southern province.
Following the news of Sauvain-Weisskopf’s death last week, Prayut rushed to demand an urgent investigation and increased security on the island.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who appeared at Sunday’s press conference with the national police chief, warned of the impact such an incident could have on the confidence of foreign tourists in choosing to spend their vacations there.
“The province and all stakeholders are working together to strengthen tourist safety,” said Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.
“We are grateful to everyone who is working to restore confidence in the Phuket sandbox program. “
Narong led a memorial to Sauvin-Weisskopf on one of his favorite beaches in front of the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket resort, claiming the whole island was devastated by “the senseless loss of such a beautiful life”.
While authorities hope Teerawat’s capture and public confession will help reassure other visitors of their safety, the rapid spread of the virus is another matter.
Only a few dozen international arrivals to Phuket have tested positive since they started flying, but there was a record 327 new cases last week and the government has now closed domestic travel to and from from the island.
The worsening situation across Thailand, meanwhile, has only inflamed criticism of Prayut’s handling of the health crisis, including a slow deployment of the vaccine described as disorganized by opponents.
As a record 212 dead per day was announced on Saturday, anti-government protesters once again took to the streets of Bangkok and clashed with police, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Another rally is scheduled for Tuesday.
Jeremy Lim, associate professor at the School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, said it was “safe to say that Thailand is going through a difficult time right now.”
“It’s almost a perfect storm. Vaccination rates are low, there have been protests in Bangkok [on Saturday], there was a murder in Phuket. All of these things, rightly or wrongly, give the impression that the government is not on top, ”he said.
” Perspective [for Thailand] really depends on two things. One is the ability to speed up vaccinations very, very quickly. The second is the government’s ability to regain the confidence of the people as well as the international community.
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