Gov to push for expo center in Ao Phuket

PHUKET: Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura says he will ask the Cabinet later this month to approve plans for Phuket’s International Conference and Exhibition Center (ICEC) to be built in the proposed Ao Phuket development.

“The estimated cost of reclaiming land in Ao Phuket is 1 million baht a rai, which is cheap compared with the price at which land in Phuket is currently being traded,” said Gov Udomsak, adding that he would put this proposal before the Cabinet when it meets in Trang on December 14.

The Governor’s revelation came as he rejected proposals from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and a firm of consultants for the ICEC to be built at Saphan Hin, arguing that this would cause too much disruption for local people.

At yesterday’s meeting in his office, the Governor was shown the results of a study by Sindhu Pulsirivong Consultants (SPC), which indicated that the best venue would be a 178-rai site in Saphan Hin.

But the Governor, who in September said that the ICEC could be built “anywhere that will create growth in Phuket” (see earlier story here) said he could not support the SPC proposal.

“The details of this plan call for the relocation of many of the buildings around the site,” he said, “which would not be in line with provincial policy.”

Gov Udomsak added that Saphan Hin is the city’s public park and leisure amenity. People from Phuket like to relax there, which is why the city municipality looks after it.

A far more suitable site, said the Governor, would be within the proposed 3,200-rai, 63-billion-baht Ao Phuket scheme.

The Governor chaired the meeting, which was attended by TAT Region 4 director Suwalai Pinpradab and other TAT representatives; Somchai Srivibul of the Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning (DPT); and representatives of Phuket City Municipality.

During his visit to Phuket on November 19, Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop ordered that a meeting be held to asssess progress on government policy, in particular the long-running debate over the siting of the ICEC.

Phuket News

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