Decade of inaction on twin city slammed

PHUKET TOWN: The man behind a twin-city agreement between Phuket and the French Riviera city of Nice slammed the provincial government today for ignoring the agreement for more than 10 years, causing Phuket to miss some big opportunities to learn from Nice and to attract more French visitors. Jessada Kraipusspong, former deputy managing director of Asia Voyage and Pansea Group Hotels, said Nice had been chosen as a twin city because of the similarity between its climate and that of Phuket, and because both rely heavily on tourism. Yet, since the agreement was signed nothing had been done, a disappointed K. Jessada said. “The local government in Nice has sent several letters to the Phuket provincial government, but there was no response.” He noted that Nice has an exhibition every year focusing on cities it is twinned with, and that many of those cities attend, mounting displays to promote themselves. But Phuket had never been represented. Phuket could reap great benefits from being twinned with the French resort, K. Jessada said. For example, it could learn lessons on how Nice manages to attract tourists – mostly Japanese and American – all year round. It could also benefit from knowledge such as the technology Nice uses to generate electricity from its garbage incinerator. Phuket has many advantages over Nice, he said, such as its more attractive beaches, its friendly people, and the many attractive destinations nearby. Closer contacts with the French city would have the potential to attract greater numbers of French tourists. Phuket is also twinned with Las Vegas and Yentai in China, but there is very little activity with either of these cities.

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