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Video Report: Canal works to boost Phuket marina access

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Video Report: Canal works to boost Phuket marina access | Thaiger
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Gulu Lalvani dubbed provincial governor Maitri Inthusut an “action man” while describing his delight that – after ten years of delays – work has finally begun on dredging the channel that leads to Royal Phuket Marina and the Boat Lagoon. Video: PGTV

PHUKET: The 12-million-baht project to dredge the Koh Kaew Canal and deepen the existing approach channel from Phang Nga Bay has commenced and is scheduled to be completed by October.

The project, which was approved in January by Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut (story here), will increase access to Phuket Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina (RPM) and the nearby village fishing pier, allowing larger boats to enter regardless of tide levels.

Upon approving the project, Governor Maitri explained that the government was willing to spend the money on dredging the canal serving the two private marinas in order to improve Phuket’s marine infrastructure.

“Doing so will make Phuket more attractive for people organizing MICE [Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition] events and also for yacht owners who contribute to marine tourism,” he said.

Gulu Lalvani, chairman of the Royal Phuket Marina, welcomed the launch of the project and said it would enable him to market his marina to larger boat operators, as access would no longer be restricted by the tides.

“It’s a major breakthrough. We have been waiting for it for 10 years, [and it] finally started yesterday,” he told the Gazette.

“We haven’t been marketing to bigger boats because we have had this problem that they are only able to go in and out at high tide. It’s inconvenient for large boat tour operators because they want to have people leaving at 9am or 10am, and at that time the tides are not always suitable.”

The dredging, which began on Sunday, will increase the depth of the 1.6km canal and the 3.6km approach channel to two meters at low tide, allowing boats up to approximately 35 meters long to enter and leave at will.

Boon Yongsakul, deputy managing director of the Phuket Boat Lagoon, echoed Mr Lalvani’s comments, saying that the project would make accessing the marina much more convenient and increase the marina’s yacht servicing business.

“We are very pleased that it has commenced because it will enhance the our activity. More boats can come in and it will be much more convenient,” he said.

“After the [increased number of] boats come in, there will be more people, more restaurants, more shops, and it will enhance the value of the whole of Boat Lagoon.

“It will change the traffic, and it will be much more busy when the channel is dredged, and the big boats can come here instead of going to Singapore or Malaysia.”

Mr Lalvani praised Governor Maitri for approving the project and said he hoped that once it was completed, the number of high-spending tourists who arrive in Phuket on luxury yachts would increase, bringing benefits to the economy of the whole island.

“Every year I’ve been requesting them to dredge the channel, because the channel belongs to the government, like the roads. And the government finally realized that marine tourists, the ones who come here on boats, spend on average a lot more than normal tourists.

“So, finally, the current Governor, Maitri, who I have to say is really an action man, told me last year that ‘I’ll make sure there is money in this year’s budget to dredge the channel, because I realize the importance of marine tourism to Phuket’.”

— Mark Knowles

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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