PHUKET: Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura was noncommittal about a proposal by the Indonesian Ambassador to Thailand that Phuket City and the Balinese capital of Denpasar become “sister cities”, saying he would first have to raise the idea with local tourism industry associations.
The idea of twinning the two cities was proposed by Indonesian Ambassador Ibrahim Yusuf during a December 2 courtesy call on the Governor at Phuket Provincial Hall.
Amb Yusuf was in Phuket as part of a four-day tour of Southern Thailand.
Other members of the Indonesian delegation included Satria Djambek, Indonesian Consul in Songkhla, and Muhammad Huda Ahmad Yadi, Education and Cultural Affairs Attaché with the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok.
Although a letter issued by the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla specifically states that the proposed twinning would be between the two cities (as opposed to the islands on which they are located) the Thai side was represented by Gov Udomsak, to whom the Indonesian letter was addressed, rather than the Mayor of Phuket City Somjai Suwannasuppana – who was notably absent from the meeting.
During the meeting, the possibility of educational and cultural exchanges between Bali and Phuket was raised. Also discussed was the idea of establishing direct air links between Phuket and points in Indonesia including Jakarta and Medan as well as Bali.
No firm agreements were reached on these issues, however.
In reference to security concerns following terrorist bombings in Bali in October 2002, and again in October this year, Gov Udomsak said that the issue of twinning the two cities at this time remained “sensitive”.
Phuket Province and Phuket City are already involved in a number of “sister” relationships with other tourism destinations around the world.
On September 25 this year, the island became twinned with Hainan Island in China. Before that, on June 29, Phuket and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were formally “twinned” in an effort to bolster tourism links.
Phuket has also been twinned with Nice in France for decades and Phuket City has sister city relationship fwith Las Vegas, gambling capital of the US.
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