PHUKET: With the prospect of a civil service reshuffle looming in the wake of the recent general election, the Phuket Governor will push to get hundreds of underground hotels on the island registered and paying taxes.
The news came during the first meeting of an advisory committee formed by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha on May 11.
“I will look into the issue of unregistered hotels during my term. At present, their numbers almost equal those of registered hotels. I am going to look into how to bring those hotels into the registration system so the government receives the taxes it is due,” Gov Tri told the advisers at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.
A light rail project would definitely be started during his term, but the project’s ultimate success was another matter entirely, he said.
The meeting was called to allow the 18 advisers to become acquainted. Selected to provide council on a number of issues, seven will advise Gov Tri on tourism and foreign affairs.
Another seven will assist him with local economic issues and the remaining four will focus on social matters.
“I need these advisers to help me turn Phuket into a sustainable tourist destination. Most of them spoke of tackling the issues of tourists who are taken advantage of. We need to gain their [tourists’] trust and boost the local economy. These issues are a priority and we will take action soon,” Gov Tri said.
“Despite the recent change in government, I will try to bring an appropriate budget down [to Phuket] and use it for the benefit of Phuket’s residents,” he added.
The first of the committee’s meetings will take place next month, when they will begin to look for solutions to the most pressing issues.
— Pimwara Choksakulpan
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