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Opening of new Phuket Bus Station on hold

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET CITY: The opening of Phuket’s new 128-million-baht bus station is on hold while authorities work out which organization will be put in charge of its operation.

Structural work on the station was completed earlier this month, with project contractor Anda Phuket Construction Co Ltd officially handing the structure over to the Land Transport Department on December 4.

No date for the station’s opening has been announced, however, because the agency is still negotiating with both Rasada Tambon Administration Organization (TAO) and the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) over which, if either, body will be put in charge of its operation.

Work on the station began in September 2008, after the Land Transport Department paid 80 million baht to acquire the nine-rai plot from a private landowner.

The station is located on Thepkrasattri Rd southbound, just south of Supercheap in Rasada District.

Anda Phuket project engineer Boonlert Pikulthong told the Gazette the work was completed within the contract cost of 47.98 million baht.

“After we signed the contact in September last year we started right away just to make sure we could finish and hand over the project before the December 12 deadline,” he said.

All work was completed according to project specifications, and no further changes or improvements are required, he said.

“We did not make a lot of profit from this contract. I just wanted to keep all my workers employed,” he said.

“As for the construction, I am quite happy with the new bus terminal. I think it is okay,” he said.

Phuket Land Transport Officer Kanok Siripanichkorn declined to estimate when control of the station will be transferred, but confirmed the two bodies under consideration are the Rasada TAO and the PPAO.

The agency is still waiting for both bodies to confirm their intent to run the terminal before making the final decision and consigning the terminal over to the chosen organization, he said.

The new station, officially designated as Phuket Bus Terminal 2, comprises two main sections: a covered platform with drive-up parking for 29 buses, and a two-story passenger building. Among the facilities on the top floor of the passenger building will be a restaurant, beauty parlor and a variety of shops.

“We plan to install an escalator and set up an air-conditioned section for passengers waiting to depart, but we still have to work out the details with the organization that agrees to run it,” he said.

What other facilities might be added will also be up to that organization, he added.

In a bid to boost domestic tourism, the Land Transport Office plans to establish several new long-haul provincial bus routes in mid-2010, he revealed.

These will include routes to Pattaya, Nongkhai and either Betong District in Yala or Su-ngai Kolok in Narathiwat, both on the Malaysian border.

The biggest problem associated with the opening of the new station will be increased traffic congestion on Thepkrasattri Rd, because buses going off island will first have to head south then do a U-turn, he said.

It is hoped the Phuket Provincial Highways Office will soon build an elevated horseshoe-shaped U-Turn channel to allow buses to make an aerial crossing over Thepkrasattri Rd and head north without obstructing traffic flow.

— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat

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

Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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