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Phuket keeps playing airport catch-up with rising tourist arrivals

Phuket Needs a New Airport, Freedom: Minister

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
PHUKET needs to be declared a special economic zone to balance the growth of tourism with its natural attractions, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Chumpol Silapa-archa, said yesterday.

''Phuket is growing so quickly,'' he said. ''Without its own island government, it's hard to see good management. We need to start right now to get the mix right.''

He said Phuket needed speedy attention, before the island became overwhelmed by development. Phuket's growth would even outpace plans to expand the existing airport, hence the need for a larger one.

''A special economic zone plus a new airport are what's needed,'' he said. ''Phuket needs a better way of dealing with its rapidly increasing tourism numbers.

''If I had the power, I would bang on the table and say, 'Do it.'''

A visit to China for the Asian Games demonstrated the value of a destination like Phuket, with natural attractions, in a world where most people live in cities, he said. Technological attractions were all that cities had to offer, he said.

Khun Chumpol said that he was a signatory to the document that established the modern Phuket airport 21 years ago.

''Before then, people from Singapore had to fly to Bangkok before they could fly to Phuket,'' he said. ''We opened up the skies. Now Phuket is just an hour away with direct flights from Singapore.''

Phuket had helped to boost the number of overseas tourists visiting Thailand this year, he said, with incoming tourists continuing to grow through direct flights,despite the Bangkok political violence.

Khun Chumpol visited Phuket for the opening of the Westin Siray Bay Resort and Spa Phuket, the first branded resort on the island to the east of Phuket City.
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Comments

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Is he serious - hand over Phuket to the entrenched officials already here? That would be the livin' end!!
The only brake on the corruption already here comes from BKK.

Posted by mike on December 1, 2010 11:10

Editor Comment:

He's suggesting an independent elected chief executive of a Phuket special economic area to replace the existing system.


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