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Forlorn hope: Phuket leaders want the centre, but it may be out of reach

Phuket's 2.6b Baht Convention Centre 'Going to Chiang Mai Instead'

Friday, June 29, 2012
PHUKET: Serious concerns are held on Phuket that the long-awaited Phuket convention and exhibition centre will be built in Chiang Mai instead.

''We need this project on Phuket but from what we've been hearing, it is becoming less likely to be built here,'' said Bhuritt Maswongsa, Vice President of the Phuket Tourism Association and a man who usually has his ear close to the ground.

Despite the mobile Cabinet meeting on Phuket earlier this year when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offered encouragement to future Phuket infrastructure, there has been no formal endorsement or funding for the convention centre.

With Chiang Mai in the heartland of Thailand's ''red'' zone and Phuket still very much a ''yellow'' stronghold, the fear is that the project will go north.

''In strictly financial terms, it's difficult for the government to justify building the centre on Phuket,'' Khun Bhuritt told Phuketwan. ''They need the centre to earn two or three billion baht within three years of opening.

''Phuket International Airport is already bursting at the seams. It is simply not possible to increase the flow of tourists to Phuket any faster. Chiang Mai is the logical alternative, economically and politically.''

Such a move would shock resort brands to the north of Phuket where the exhibition project has been anticipated with glee.

''Phuket may well have to consolidate and improve the value of its appeal,'' Khun Bhuritt said. ''The better the product, the more value Phuket will have without the need to constanty boost numbers.''

Phuket's bid for the 2.6 billion baht project that would go on low-lying land not far from Mai Khao in Phuket's north is bogged down in the Finance Department, awaiting approval. Environmental considerations also have yet to be resolved.

The Director of the Regional Treasury, Phuket, Tamrong Tongtan, says nothing more has been heard about the Phuket centre for months and there was no guarantee it would go through.

Khun Bhuritt says Phuket may be better off concentrating energy on developing the ''Romance Road'' north through Phang Nga province to Ranong, on the border with Burma, and south to Satun.

Enhancing the road would provide tourists with a green route through some of Thailand's most appealing countryside.

Comments

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Thank heavens for a sensible decision! No sensible person wanted another white elephant in north Phuket, and no sensible person wanted more concrete in Phuket. The defunct Phuket Gateway is a prime example of an ill-thought out idea.

Now about that new idea for developing the 'Romance Road'. Is this yet another idea to waste money? I travel that road every week through lovely countryside and the existing road is modern and adequate.

How about using the funding that will actually benefit the people of Phuket who need it most - in education and health projects for the poor?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on June 29, 2012 10:38

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Let me get that right. It's going to cost 2.6 billion to build and they want it to earn 2-3 billion within 3 years.!!!
Jeeses. I wish I could find such a good return on investment.

Never mind, win loose or draw, those involved so far with feasibility studies, architects plans, engineers consultations, and the nearby land owners who sold out to the believing suckers, have no doubt all cashed in already.

Nah.! We'll spend the money on a pretty road in some other province.!!
" Enhancing the road would provide tourists with a green route through some of Thailand's most appealing countryside." .......
Bypassing Phuket altogether.


You just couldn't make these stories up no one in their right mind would believe you.!!

Posted by innocent bystander on June 29, 2012 10:57

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PW, can we add a 'like' button for users posts?

Posted by Sean on June 29, 2012 11:55

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Simon, Phuket being a tourist island I believe it a great loss if it loses this to Chaing Mai, Yingluck's home town. Phuket lost most of its rural charm years ago, if you seek country life I would seriously relocate.

Posted by coxo on June 29, 2012 12:30

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Best news I have heard about this stupid idea.What is that other monstrosity when one arrives near the checkpoint. Looks like dinosaur eggs. Chang Mai is better equipped for convention centres, but a return of 2-3 Billion Baht in three years, yea right!
Phuket could use the 2.6 Billion to upgrade existing infrastructure and improve the lot of the people on Phuket who really need it.
Pray tell, how would this Romance Road to Burma help Phuket?
By the way, I recon it has buggerall to do with what color shirts the provinces wear, just accessibility.

Posted by Robin on June 29, 2012 13:03

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"Phuket's 2.6b Baht Convention Centre 'Going to Chiang Mai Instead'"
good!!

Posted by another steve on June 30, 2012 08:33

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@Simon: Well said!

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on June 30, 2012 09:37

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Very good news. Could the money be used for reforestation, that would be even better news

Posted by Poum on June 30, 2012 19:56

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Good decision ... Phuket could do better with a lot of other stuff ... one thing that I would really like to see would be a few provincial garbage trucks that could drive around in all of Phuket and clear the garbage that the inhabitants of this island just dumps at the roadside, be it the plastic bags after finishing a meal or bigger stuff .... would not be very expensive to operate such a system and it could make the island look a bit more like the tropical paradise it is marketed as. Teaching people not to throw garbage in nature I would reckon is a bit too ambitious, but maybe they will understand later on after seeing the clean up teams do the work.

Posted by Bjarne on July 1, 2012 09:57

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Good call, Bjarne. My Dad came for a visit a few years back, and knowing him as a nature lover, I tried to show him some of the "unspoilt" parts of the Island, where I was most embarrassed and disappointed to see piles of garbage dumped all over the place. Now, just take a drive on Muang Chaofah Road, which looks like a municipal dump in places. Money spent cleaning up and teaching people not to trash Phuket would be well spent.

Posted by Arvydar on July 5, 2012 19:19


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