Connect with us


Gulu’s goal: to bring mega-yachts to Phuket



KOH KAEW: Royal Phuket Marina (RPM) developer Gulu Lalvani yesterday held a press conference to outline his vision to develop Phuket as the world’s top yachting destination – including his plan to build Zoran Island, a new island off the coast to site a deluxe marina complex capable of berthing mega-yachts.

“I am very pleased that at the beginning of this month Phuket was named the best marine destination in Asia, but this is not enough for me. My dream is to make Phuket the world’s number one destination. Some of you may think this is impossible, but some of my friends thought I was crazy when I told them a few years ago that I wanted to make Phuket the top destination in Asia,” he said.

“As many of you know, Bill Gates was here last month for two weeks on his 54-meter yacht. He said it was one of the best holidays he ever had. My dream is to have more people like Bill Gates coming here. All we lack is the facilities for yachts in the 40- to 70-meter range. My dream has been to make an island which can take mega-yachts. I shared my vision with [former] Governor Udomsak [Uswarangkura] last year and he like the idea very much,” he said.

Former Governor Udomasak was among several dignitaries attending the press conference, held at the RPM conference room. Also attending were Phuket Deputy Governor Smith Palawatvichai and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Deputy Governor for International Marketing Juthaporn Rerngronasa.

Zoran Island, named after one of telecom tycoon Mr Lalvani’s sons, would be located about three kilometers offshore near the end of the existing channel to RPM. It would have restaurants, shopping and other facilities catering to the needs of the world’s super-rich, he said.

Mr Lalvani said that reports in the Thai media that Bill Gates would invest in the Zoran Island project were incorrect.

“I want to put the record straight on that it will be my investment, not that of Bill Gates,” he said.

Asked what he expected to be the biggest obstacle to turning Zoran Island from a dream into a reality, Mr Lalvani told the Gazette that he met with officials from the Marine Department earlier in the day and that he had hired an Australian consulting firm to conduct an initial survey of the proposed project site.

“The government is pro-tourism, but of course they have to check out that this is the right location…There don’t seem to be any obstacles, but we will have to go through proper procedures,” he said.

“Because we have a temporary government at the moment, officials tend to delay making decisions…In the past, I had a very fast decisions from the governor, but this year we have a temporary government that has other priorities. But I believe that once the survey is done it is only a matter of time before we get there.

“The islands that surround Phuket are the most beautiful in the world. I am so confident that I have fully funded this entire project with my own money…there is not one baht of borrowing. So I have total confidence in Zoran Island being a long-term success.”

As had Mr Lalvani, K. Juthaporn hailed Phuket’s for being named as “Asia’s Maritime Capital” and the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta being named “Yachting Event of the Year” at the Christofle Asia Boating Awards in Bangkok last month.

Evidence of Phuket’s post-tsunami recovery and continued growth was reflected in tourist arrival figures, she said.

There were 4.5 million visitors to Phuket in 2006, up 79% from the post-tsunami 2005. First quarter figures for 2007 showed an increase of 26% over the first quarter of 2006, she said.

Also increasing were the number or direct flights to Phuket, including scheduled flights from places such as Australia and Hong Kong.

An increase in the number of charter flights scheduled to arrive from Europe in upcoming months reflects the fact that Europeans are beginning to view Phuket as more of a year-round destination than just a winter getaway, she said.

More good news comes with an increase in the number of cruise ships scheduled to include the island on their itineraries.

Among the newcomers are Seabourn and Carnival cruise lines, she said.

Further details of Zoran Island’s construction and projected costs have not been announced, but based on computer models released by Mr Lalvani, it appears that the island will be capable of mooring at least 40 yachts and about 10 mega-yachts. The design calls for a ring of villas surrounding a hotel and man-made bay.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Bangkok Travel2 hours ago

Ari All Link is a must-attend skill-up workshop for Ari people

Cannabis News5 hours ago

Anutin responds to photo of cannabis smoking kids on Pattaya Beach

Education5 hours ago

Thai student allegedly raped by Hyderabad U professor

Sponsored11 hours ago

Marketing in Thailand as a Foreigner: Volume #3 The Marketing Noises

Tourism5 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 6,730 flights in December

Tourism6 hours ago

Thailand tourism predicted at 80% of pre-Covid in 2023

Transport8 hours ago

Bangkok airport expansion prepares for bidding war

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime8 hours ago

Child Protection Foundation leader faces child labour charges

Road deaths8 hours ago

Red-Bull hit-and-run prosecutor dismissed

Transport9 hours ago

Phuket flight cancellation due to earlier cancelled flight, runway maintenance

Election9 hours ago

Pheu Thai Party under fire as Tuhao-Shinawatra connection exposed

Video10 hours ago

THAIGER PODCAST | Ep.14 Saving Thai cats one paw at a time

Tourism11 hours ago

Bullets-in-bag Israeli given 18 months in Thailand

Video1 day ago

Thailand News Today | 9 year olds smoke cannabis on Pattaya Beach in Thailand

Economy1 day ago

Thai baht soars to six-month high against US dollar

Pattaya1 day ago

Motorcycle taxi riders rally against unlicensed ride-share app drivers in Pattaya

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11