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Local tourism leaders voice support for Weerasak

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Leading figures in Phuket’s tourism industry have expressed satisfaction with the naming of Chart Thai Party member Weerasak Kowsurat as the new Tourism and Sports Minister in the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

K. Weerasak, 43, is Deputy Secretary of the Chart Thai Party. He has a master’s degree in law from Harvard University. Originally from Ubon Ratchathani province, K. Weerasak has held several advisory and vice-ministerial positions in previous governments, including the first Thaksin administration.

Phuket Tourist Association President Maitree Narukatpichai told the Gazette, “I know of him only from the media, but his background and personality give me more confidence in him than [I’ve had in] some previous tourism and sports ministers. Also, he is still young and appears to have good ideas.”

However, K. Maitree said that he did not expect much help from the new government in funding urgently needed infrastructure projects to deal with Phuket’s pressing problems, such as the waste management crisis and increasing traffic congestion.

“Such problems are beyond the ability of local bodies to solve. As for marketing the island, I think we can handle that on our own,” he said.

PTA Vice-President Bhuritt Maswongssa agreed that K. Weerasak’s background and experience as a lawyer made him well-suited for the post. “I think lawyers are men of principle,” he said.

K. Bhuritt, who until recently went by the first name “Panu”, suggested that the new minister establish a special economic and administrative zone for Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi and Trang.

Collectively, these provinces generate two-thirds of Thailand’s tourism industry revenue, he claimed.

Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Eam Thavornwongwongse said that he hoped K. Weerasak would meet the island’s tourism industry leaders and listen carefully to their input when formulating policy.

“I believe he has the right knowledge and capability for this position,” he said.

Noting that Phuket enjoys a competitive advantage in tourism – especially sports tourism – K. Eam said that he hoped K. Weerasak would help Phuket businesses with sustainable development.


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