PHUKET: The Phuket governor has announced plans to renovate and re-brand the ‘Phuket Gateway’ as a tourist landmark by converting it into a shopping outlet selling Phuket-based products.
Governor Norraphat Plodthong yesterday held a meeting with relevant officers to discuss the plans.
The Phuket Gateway was built by the OrBorJor in 2006 as a ‘tourist center’ featuring a meeting room, sales room and service center. The Gateway also featured 29 pillars depicting Phuket history, art, culture and way of life.
The landmark has never been a success. Tourists don’t visit it and it has no other real use.
The project is located on 25 rai of government land near the island’s northernmost tip, where Thepkrasattri Bridge crosses into Phuket. Initially funded with 46.7 million baht in tax revenue collected by the OrBorJor, the project eventually wound up costing 50 million baht (story here).
“We want to renovate the Phuket Gateway and make it a must-visit provincial landmark. The first step is to make it safe, secure and easily accessible. Normally, people pass by without entering it because they don’t want to take the time to stop there [on their way into the island]. We will make it easier to attract visitors by putting up clear signs to point the way to it in advance,” said Gov Norrapaht.
“As far as the interior is concerned, it is already beautiful. We can boost it further by adding new features such as a ‘photo corner’ for photography enthusiasts,” he added.
The governor announced that the gateway would soon also serve as a shopping outlet for specialty products such as batik, pearls, pineapples and other souvenirs.
“Phuket invested a lot in this project, but never put it to much use. We want to bring it back to life now,” the governor said.
— Kongleaphy Keam