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Could a Phuket fast rail service be the key to the recovery of Thailand tourism?

Phuket-Bangkok Fast Rail Plan to Pursue Recovery

Friday, May 14, 2010
THE PLAN for Phuket to lead Thailand's recovery in tourism is edging closer with a bid about to begin to regain the vital markets lost in Europe because of political unrest and national travel alerts . . . and a fast train being proposed to link the island to Bangkok.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau is to take 30 Thai operators to join business trade shows in London, Geneva and Frankfurt.

And there's the novel suggestion that a fast rail link should be built between Bangkok and Phuket to ''serve tourists'' and provide infrastructure investment for a recovery.

At the same time, says Prakit Chinamourphong, president of the Thai Hotels Association, a total of 15 billion baht is being sought to help Thailand's tourism industry recover once the red protest in Bangkok ends.

The money has been set aside - and Phuket has already made a bid for the lion's share of the funding by appealing directly to Finance Minister Korn Jatikawanit in a top-level meeting on the island on April 28.

Mathee Tanmanatragul, immediate past-president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, told Phuketwan after that meeting that Phuket was like the eldest son in a family struck down by illness: the island needs the whole nation's support to act as bread-winner until the rest of the family recovers.

With more violence marring the Bangkok demonstrations overnight, the turn-off in tourism continues. Many countries continue to warn travellers about the whole of Thailand, although Phuket is regarded as being a perfectly safe destination. Tourists are able to access Phuket via direct flights, or with relative ease through Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

Charoen Wangananon, vice chairman for tourism and sport at the Thai Chamber of Commerce, yesterday suggested that the government should build rapid trains to link Bangkok to Nong Khai province in the northeast and Phuket.

Does Phuket need a fast rail link with Bangkok? Have your say via the comment box below


''If the government could add some big infrastructure projects and improve our [tourism] products, the country should claim 15 million visitors per year and increase revenue up to 1.5 trillion baht per year,'' he said.

Rail is already a popular low-cost alternative to air travel throughout Europe, and China has made plain its desire to provide expertise to neighboring countries to extend fast rail services across the entire region.

The red demonstration is now entering its third month and the longer it continues, the greater the damage.

The large retail and investment MBK group, which had been set to expand its tourism investments, has postponed for at least one year a spend of two billion baht for projects on Samui and Phuket, where its plan was to build a resort close to the highly-regarded Loch Palm and Red Mountain golf courses in the centre of the island.

The longer the protest runs, the greater the reduction in investment, and the larger the numbers of jobs that are likely to be lost as a consequence.
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Comments

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Just another junket for 30 Thai officials to have an all expenses paid jaunt around Europe.

An express rail link. Whatever next?

Posted by Alice in Wonderland on May 14, 2010 15:55

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A fast and reliable train network can be a vital transport backbone for a country, for its people and products, a mostly clean and efficient way to distribute possibilities and chances to remote places, bring talent to market and market to talent.

Do not use tourists as a scapegoat to build a fast rail from Bangkok to the south. No foreign tourist will use it. They take... tataaa... planes.

What would be nice is a metro in Phuket linking the airport and the grand beaches with Phuket City and Chalong. And an extension should go to Greater Phuket - Khaolak, like a funny spider web with the airport in the middle. Promote it as: The Sky-to-Beach Train in Phuket, the green island.

As rail transport will go electric, so should the taxi and tuk-tuk, which can cater the guests around the metro hubs - like little spiderwebs on their home turf.

And can someone please look into electric motorbikes for Phuket? IT IS A BIG NEXT THING IN ASIA. Do not let China run away with it, again.

Phuket province as a national project for electric motorbikes and cars. THAT will make headlines for the tourists. Ban other then electric motorbikes in three years. It is even possible a pay-per-use business model.

Posted by Lena on May 15, 2010 05:24

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I am one of the many who hate planes and buses. Rail is relaxing, smooth and environmentally more correct than any other modes of mass transportation. --- but it's too late for Thailand to redeem itself.

I left in February 2010 after five years of trying to retire in peace on Phuket, never to return. Maybe Malaysia, Vietnam or Cambodia will see me next winter.

Posted by Wezzi on May 15, 2010 15:10

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Hmmm... not April fools day, isn't it?

Posted by Hajo on May 15, 2010 23:55


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