PHUKET: Phuket is the front-runner in the competition to be the venue for a major international summit conference three years from now. Around the end of October, 2003, about 7,500 heads of state, ministers and senior officials from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries will descend on Thailand for a week of talks. Karoon Rechuyothin, deputy director-general of the Department of Economic Affairs at the Foreign Ministry announced, “Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen and Pattaya will also host meetings.” But, he said, Phuket will probably be the major venue. K. Karoon was in Phuket recently to conduct a location survey and also to discuss arrangements with the Governor of Phuket, Charnchai Soontharamut. He said that Phuket is the front-runner as the main venue for the economic forum because of its readiness in terms of accommodation, attractions, and traffic flow. The APEC meeting committee has estimated that about 4,000 guestrooms in 4- and 5-star hotels will be needed for a week. Currently, Phuket has about 7,000 such rooms. The final decision as to where the main meetings will take place will be made in August but, said K. Karoon, the odds are now about 80% in favor of Phuket. This year, the APEC summit will be held in Brunei. Next year, it will be in China, and in 2002 it will be in Mexico. The APEC member states are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
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