PHUKET: Following reports that a man-made island was ready to be built off the east coast of Phuket to accommodate a marina for mega-yachts, the marketing manager at Royal Phuket Marina [RPM] clarified that the project is still in the early planning stages and faces many obstacles before it can become a reality.
RPM Marketing Director Wilaiporn Titimanaaree told the Gazette that developer Gulu Lalvani will hold a press conference at RPM on May 25 to announce his plan, which envisions a 6.6-billion-baht marina, luxury hotel and villa complex on reclaimed land about three kilometers off Phuket’s east coast.
K. Wilaiporn told the Gazette that a recent report by news agency Reuters had misquoted Mr Lalvani as saying that the project already had the approval of the Phuket Governor.
As a result, Gov Niran Kalayanamit has been besieged with requests to verify the story since it was released, she said.
Mr Lalvani wished to clarify the matter by saying that he had discussed the idea with former governor Udomsak Uswarangkura, who had only agreed in principal with the plan to build a man-made island off the coast near RPM.
It has not clear whether the island, if built, would fall under the jurisdiction of Phuket or Phang Nga province.
Mr Lalvani said he is aware of the obstacles that will need to be overcome, including the need to get public approval for the massive project in an area not far from where environmental activists have been protesting actively against the construction of a simple pier, she said.
The idea for a man-made island capable of berthing mega-yachts was inspired by a visit to Phang Nga Bay in April by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda aboard his yacht, Reuters reported.
Mr Gates was quoted as telling Mr Lalvani that he loved the area so much that he would like to visit every year, if only he could find a marina capable of berthing the 54-meter vessel.
To accommodate the needs of Mr Gates and the world’s other super-rich, Mr Lalvani proposes to build “Zoran Island”, named after his third son. The project would be reminiscent of “The Palm” and “The World” projects off the coast of Dubai, Reuters quoted him as saying.
Many more details about the project concept will be unveiled at the upcoming press conference, at 5 pm at RPM. The event will also be used to officially announce RPM’s hosting of the PIMEX boat show in early November and to outline the significance of Phuket being named “Asia’s Maritime Capital” at the prestigious Christofle Asia Boating Awards held in Bangkok last month.
Despite some confusion, reaction to the plan has been mostly positive.
Gov Niran told reporters that no one had contacted him about the project. “I just learned about it from the media,” he said.
However, he added that it would be good for Phuket to have more ports for yachts, and the idea is in line with a provincial plan to turn the island into the new “Marina Hub of Asia”.
“Currently, there are not enough marinas,” he said.
The project would first have to be carefully studied and its potential impact on the environment and the local communities assessed, he said.
Investors from many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia and India, were interested in investing in hotels and marinas in Phuket, he added.
Tourism and Sports Minister Suvit Yodmani welcomed the idea, saying that it could promote a good image for Thailand’s tourism.
However, he also said more details of the project were needed and it must be studied further.
Phuket Tourism Association Chairman Maitree Narukhatpichai said he would not object to the project as long as it did not harm the environment and local ways of life.
Phang Nga Governor Winai Buapradit said Gates had not contacted him.
“But if he’s interested in developing such a project, it’s in line with our provincial strategy to promote marine tourism,” Gov Winai said.
However, Wildlife Fund Thailand Coordinator Thanu Nabnien expressed concern that a man-made island could harm the ecology of Phang Nga Bay, which he described as an important part of Asia’s natural heritage.
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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