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US Ambassador Kristie Kenney during a visit to Phuket last year

US to Join Phuket HonCons Summit for First Time

Saturday, February 25, 2012
PHUKET: For the first time, a senior member of the staff of the US Embassy is scheduled to join Monday's meeting of honorary consuls with Phuket's administrators.

The involvement of the US is likely to add to the significance of the three-monthly gatherings in voicing the concerns of the countries that provide Thailand and Phuket with its tourists and, just as importantly, the income stream from tourism.

Some honorary consuls - both expats and Thais - are known to have become disillusioned from time to time with the lack of action on some issues, particularly public transport, illegal taxis, tuk-tuks and jet-skis.

However, the forums represent a great opportunity for frank and open discussion of the key items, and Phuket's future. The meetings have succeeded in generating pressure on the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to act.

Some administrators on Phuket always have understood that the safety and security of tourists is an important aspect of improving Phuket's reputation. Others are dismissive - not even prepared, for example, to call in and reprimand a speedboat driver when he almost severed a tourist's foot.

Until now, the US has been reluctant to join the 20 or so nations who are active participants in the innovative meetings. While those countries have honorary consuls, the US has a regular outreach program to Phuket.

But awareness of the importance of Phuket has been building through the increased activities of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) and a visit last year by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney.

It always seemed at odds with America's best interests to have thousands of US servicemen and women visiting Phuket on liberty leave from warships, yet to take no part in improving the destination and its treatment of visitors.

Now, it appears, the US will be taking a look and perhaps playing a significant part in future.

A more intimate meeting with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha is likely to take place before Monday afternoon's honorary consuls gathering at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Can someone please direct me to the list of countries, along with the name of each current consul, making up the group.

Posted by ssresident on February 25, 2012 13:02

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Great news. US is a major trading partner for Thailand and their war ship crews bring considerable revenue to Phuket economy. Not so much by their sailors spending money on leave but the replenishment of their ships.

I'm sure her presence adds weight to the message they try to get across to the local authorities.

Posted by Steve C. on February 25, 2012 16:15

Editor Comment:

The US Ambassador is not coming, but one of her colleagues will be there. The honorary consuls focus on tourism security and safety. Trade is mentioned in passing, but left for others to discuss.

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As always, scams and tuk-tuks are mentioned, but didn't one of the Governors say that something was being done this month?
There are only 4 days left of this month, any updates?

Posted by Tbs on February 25, 2012 18:58

Editor Comment:

Perhaps they were a bit optimistic.


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