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Cabinet approves Phuket Bt2.6b convention center

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Cabinet approves Phuket Bt2.6b convention center | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Cabinet has approved plans for the long-awaited International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) in Mai Khao to go ahead, with construction likely to get under way mid-2012.

That was the news at a public hearing for the mega-project held at the Phuket Merlin Hotel on Wednesday.

“Cabinet approved the project on September 28 after the Treasury Department sent the project on September 22,” said Pitak Direksunthorn, Director of Bureau of State Property Management 2 at the Treasury Department.

Under the current design, the 2.6-billion-baht center on the 150-rai plot of state land would include a convention hall, exhibition hall, 200-room hotel and a 100-room accommodation facility for government officers and staff.

However, the project’s plans are far from finalized.

“The EIA [environmental impact assessment] report by Phuket Rajabhat University, which is costing 11.5 million baht, should be finished by December this year,” said Mr Pitak.

“Then the plan is to go to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) for review and recommendations around January next year,” he added.

It will take until April next year to have the final plans and to start seeking tenders. “I know of 11 construction companies interested in the project,” he said.

“It will then take until July to choose a construction contractor and the final plans have to be drawn up, which will take until about December 2011. Then another EIA must be conducted to assess the impact of the final design.

“Construction is likely to start in April 2012,” he concluded.

Mr Pitak said he expected construction of the project to take about 26 months at most. “But if it’s rushed, it will probably take about 22 months,” he said.

Mr Pitak also took the opportunity to clarify that the government will not be building hotels at the site.

“We’re building accommodation for conference organizers only. Some organizations have misunderstood that we will be building hotels, which would compete with local businesses. I guarantee that no hotels are included in the project,” he said.

Bhuritt Maswongsa, vice president of the Phuket Tourist Association, reiterated his call for project organizers to consider the many issues raised by the project, such as extra traffic, transportation to the other places on the island and less car parking.

Mr Bhurritt presented a slew of potential problems at a previous public hearing. For our report on that meeting, click here.

Sorranan Sanae, vice president of the Phuket Provincial Governance Committee, similarly warned against allowing the project to fall into decay in coming years. “We don’t want the project to end up like some previous 20- to 30-million-baht projects,” he said.

Phuket City Municipality Town Planner Prasert Temmas agreed. “The convention hall should be comparable with ones abroad, such as the convention hall in Dubai and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.”

— Atchaa Khamlo



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Two shot in Phuket Town beauty spa this morning

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Two shot in Phuket Town beauty spa this morning | The Thaiger

A South Korean man and Thai woman have been injured in spa shooting in Phuket Town.

The two sustained serious injuries from bullet wounds after having been shot at the spa in Wichit today.

Wichit Police reports that they was notified of an incident at ‘The Beauty Spa’ in Wichit at 10.30am this morning.

Police and emergency responders arrived at the scene to find two injuried from gun shots – a 74 year old South Korean man, Kwang Hee Kim, and father of Ms Eun Mi Kim, the owner of the Beauty Spa.

The other person injured was a 56 year old Thai woman named as Somsri Chuatonghua who is staff at the spa.

They were both taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital. The suspect, Somphon, a house-keeper at the spa, is currently being sought by police.

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Bangkok

TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is expecting more than 2.3 million local and foreign tourists will join the various Songkran celebrations this year. They say that should generate 20 billion baht+ in revenue for tourism and tourism-related services.

TAT’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says 300,000 international arrivals are expected to celebrate the five day festival starting April 12, along with two million locals who will travel to celebrate Songkran this year. Songkran falling on a weekend this year will also bolster local tourism numbers.

The number of Songkran-specific visitors is up this year, partly because of the growing popularity of the festival internationally and the government extending the holiday to five days this year, now starting on April 12 (although ‘Songkran, the Thai New Year, is actually on April 13).

Songkran festival extended HERE.

He admits that the bad publicity about the poor air quality in the northern regions is a problem, especially around Chiang Mai which has become a big international visitor favorite over recent yers.

Chiang Mai is one of nine provinces in the North struggling with smoke haze, mostly because of open-air burning of farm waste and rubbish, and localised bush fires. The heavy smog has caused temporary suspension of flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son although flights into Chiang Mai have been unaffected so far.

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Phuket

German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash | The Thaiger

A German man has died after a motorbike crash in Thalang.

The Thalang Police were notified of the incident last night on Srisoonthorn Road in Baan Manik, Thalang.

The German man, 53 year old Carsten Elfried Koch, was the driver of a motorbike and sustained critical injuries as a result of the crash. He died at the scene.

Police believe that Mr Koch was heading back to his home in Cherng Talay at high speed. He lost control at a curve on the wet road.

His body was taken to the Thalang Hospital for an autopsy. Officials have informed the German Embassy in Thailand.

Police didn’t report if the man was wearing a bike helmet or not.

German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash | News by The Thaiger

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