Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket Expo dream: Could it end our transport nightmare?

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The prospect of Phuket winning a bid to host World Expo 2020 is an exciting one, but there are huge hurdles to overcome if the island is to be ready for the task. [See page 4, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers click here.]

Phuket easily satisfies most of the criteria needed to be a World Expo host.

As Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop correctly pointed out at a recent meeting to discuss the bid, Phuket has plenty of space to host the event, as well as an international airport, sufficient high-quality accommodation and a unique culture to show visitors.

The major stumbling block is a familiar one to readers of this space: transport.

Shanghai Expo 2010, which runs from May 1 to October 1 this year, had more than eight million visitors in its first month alone.

The idea that Phuket could accommodate so many visitors in such a short period of time is, to put it lightly, risible. Tuk-tuks, airport limousines and the meager fleet of public buses are clearly not up to the job.

Gov Wichai nevertheless remains optimistic that needed infrastructure – including an international convention center, new Sarasin Bridge, monorail network and the Patong Tunnel – will be in place by 2020.

While it’s not difficult to believe the convention center and new bridge to the mainland will be ready in 10 years, delivery by that time of the controversial Patong Tunnel and a mass transit system is far from assured.

Gov Wichai has been a force for positive change since he took office, but his term is likely to end this year. Whether his successors will share his ability to get things done or to enjoy so much backing from Bangkok is far from certain.

Any sort of mass transit system – whether monorail, light rail or bus network – will face strong opposition from those powerful vested interests who continue to profit from today’s abysmal transport status quo, and do so at the expense of every other tourism industry sector.

Costs for both the Patong Tunnel and a mass transit system would run into the billions, but funding issues have yet to be seriously addressed.

With both a new indoor market and a bus terminal standing empty due to administrative wrangling, the island’s record on project delivery is not exactly a stellar one.

But perhaps the prospect of having the eyes of the world trained on Phuket for a major event is exactly the impetus needed. If a mass transit system were to be a quid pro quo for a successful bid for World Expo 2020, then the government would have no choice but to provide one.

 

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:

Thailand16 mins ago

Explore Thailand’s least visited city in the South!

Pattaya30 mins ago

Newborn baby found in Pattaya trash can

Crime45 mins ago

Poll examines sexual violence causes, definitions

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Drugs1 hour ago

Four members of drug gang arrested in Nakhon Si Thammarat

North East2 hours ago

Military mum calls for justice over slain son

Tourism2 hours ago

Why aren’t tourists returning to Khao San Road?

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime2 hours ago

A burglar, in a hole, in the roof, in the night

Drugs3 hours ago

Drug policy outlines by PM, cash rewards to police in busts

World Cup4 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison

Economy4 hours ago

UK exports to Japan slump after ‘landmark’ free trade deal

Thailand5 hours ago

Try These Weird Thai Foods… If You Dare

World23 hours ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South24 hours ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand1 day ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Expats1 day ago

Phuket’s 5 best golf courses

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