PHUKET CITY: Officials from the three “Andaman Cluster” provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi met at the Thavorn Grand Hotel yesterday to discuss progress on the cluster’s strategic development plan, which has now been in effect for nine months.
Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura said, “The cluster’s private sector is now generating 95 billion baht in tourism revenue annually and we believe there is room for further expansion. We don’t even have a low season now. Hotel and resort owners are very happy about this.”
The Governor, who predicted private-sector tourism revenue will top 100 million baht next year, downplayed fears among industry leaders that the controversial “landbridge” oil pipeline project will harm tourism.
“I brought up this matter with PM Thaksin on his last visit, and he assured me that he will take care of this matter and ensure that the project and tourism are developed harmoniously. The landbridge project is important too, because, with rising oil prices, energy is a serious concern.”
The Governor was given 10 minutes to meet with the Prime Minister during the premier’s one-hour stop at Phuket Airport on August 25.
Gov Udomsak said that new projects would continue to attract tourists to the cluster. These include a large new aquarium in Phuket; a marina in Chalong; the Asian Film Festival in December, and a planned international powerboat competition next year.
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