Connect with us

Phuket

Opinion: What a long, strange trip it’s been

Published

 on 

PHUKET: With the terms of the highly-trumpeted Asean Economic Community (AEC) to take effect in just days, Phuket is really no closer to having a world-class international conference and exhibition center (ICEC) than it was a few decades back when the idea was first bruited.

Long-term Phuket Gazette readers know very well the winding and confusing history of the island’s ICEC project – the endless studies, plans and even a vote on where such a facility should be located in the province.

However, each time the island comes closer to actually realizing the dream, the greater the disappointment when the vision is dashed at the last minute – almost always due to a change of power at the top in Bangkok.

Additionally, local power struggles among the island’s wealthiest land-owning families have also been a considerable hindrance in deciding on an appropriate site for such a complex. Each family naturally has wanted the facility to be in an area near their own landholdings or other assets.

Past efforts to choose an appropriate site at the local level simply ‘timed out’ when one of Thailand’s past governments lost power and everything had to be ‘restarted’ from scratch, much to the pleasure of the next group of consultants and their paymasters in government.

Conjecture about, and reporting of, the ICEC in all its many manifestations has been a regular staple of local news dating back as long as most of us can remember.

That all ended in 2012, when the government of Yingluck Shinawatra cited concerns over sea turtles and mangrove forests as its justification of pulling the plug on the Democrat Party’s already-approved 2.6-billion-baht facility in Mai Khao. It was such a staggering blow that it seemed to knock the ICEC concept out of the news cycle altogether. We were in denial; it was still ‘too soon’.

But as the saying goes, ‘hope springs eternal’ and Phuket’s staggering growth in recent years makes the lack of an ICEC more glaring with each passing year.

It’s interesting that the re-emergence of the ICEC concept comes at this time of hope and gift-giving across the world, but unfortunately, Santa Claus and crew don’t have room to slide megaprojects under Christmas trees or into red envelopes.

It is time to start thinking about an ICEC once again, but in doing so, it feels to us more like Groundhog Day than Christmas.

— Phuket Gazette

 

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime14 hours ago

Fans stage simulation of Tangmo’s death in protest of law activist’s defamation case

Thailand14 hours ago

Thai road sweepers get safer new uniform for work

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Police patrol Pattaya Beach looking for guns, booze, prostitutes

Sponsored23 hours ago

Starting a business and obtaining SMART Visa in Thailand is easy with Startup Booster

Phuket15 hours ago

4 Chinese fishermen lost at sea rescued near Phuket

Pattaya15 hours ago

Two lost children found on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Guides15 hours ago

5 underrated apps you need to use in Thailand this year

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket15 hours ago

Cheeky Taoist procession spices up Phuket’s veggie fest

World15 hours ago

Avalanche strikes mountaineering team in Indian Himalayas, 4 killed

Cannabis16 hours ago

Can foreigners legally grow cannabis in Thailand?

Tourism16 hours ago

1-billion-baht tourism stimulus back on track

Thailand16 hours ago

Ordination ceremony concert goes on despite flood

Hot News16 hours ago

Flooding may impact Thailand’s tourism recovery

Road deaths17 hours ago

Young woman killed in hit-and-run in Chon Buri

Hot News17 hours ago

Myanmar youth artists hold art challenge to raise awareness of country’s plight

Entertainment17 hours ago

“One For the Road” film is Thailand’s 25th Oscar attempt

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

Trending