PHUKET TOWN: Phuket Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi today urged foreign investors in Phuket to inform him of their suggestions, complaints and problems so he could deal with them or pass them on to the government. Speaking at the monthly meeting of the International Business Association of Phuket at the Royal Phuket City Hotel, the governor also stressed that corruption in government offices in Phuket should be reported directly to him or to his vice-governors. He added that foreign businesspeople should try to avoid using Thai middlemen to set up businesses or organize official paperwork on their behalf. “We have found that some Thai middlemen…may not tell you all the truth. Please contact the governmental organization yourself or come with your lawyer or middleman to see the officials. “It will be much better – if you want to do something, or you want to talk about the details of what you can and cannot do – to come by yourself to an organization [such as IBAP] or to the governmental units here in Phuket without [using] some broker or middleman.” Gov Pongpayome urged potential investors not to invest in businesses such as bars. “I would like to see investment in businesses that will not damage our tourism, environment or reputation,” he said. “I don’t believe that bars are a good business or that the people of Phuket want [more of] them.” Instead, he listed a number of businesses that he felt were more appropriate, such as accommodations, marinas, ports, piers, canoe or jungle tours, water sports, museums, health centers, international conference halls, schools for the hotel industry, international schools and universities, cabarets and “Broadway theater”. Asked whether he thought Phuket would benefit from investment in casinos, he said that he felt small “game rooms” accessible only to those who could show a foreign passport might be suitable, but not full-blown casinos. One other business that he advocated particularly seriously was retirement homes for foreigners. Acknowledging that some immigration regulations would have to be amended in order to allow residents of such places to stay longer, he pointed out that the development of such business would depend on the efforts of both Thai and foreign investors to present the government with reasonable suggestions.
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