PHUKET: With clear signals from the government that it is serious about transforming Phuket into an Asean marine leisure and yachting hub, key figures in the province’s public and private business sectors are forging alliances to help bring that vision to fruition.
Marine business representatives, members of the Phuket Tourist Association, the Chamber of Commerce and local councilors met at the Phuket Merlin Hotel on April 1 to open discourse on how to move forward with the government-sponsored initiative to build more marinas in order to attract more marine-related businesses and tourists to the area.
The majority of business operators at the meeting were in agreement that more educational courses related to the marine industry – such as yacht maintenance and repair – should be made available at local colleges and universities.
Phuket Tourist Association Vice President Bhummikitti Ruktaengam applauded collaboration between the government and private sectors, stressing that it was essential for the two sectors to work in harmony in order to make the marine hub initiative a reality.
“The Kung Bay Marina proposed as a superyacht destination in Pa Khlok, for example, covers a total area of 108 rai. When complete, the marina will offer many opportunities to private enterprises to provide related services and facilities,” he said.
Mr Bhummikitti said he was also encouraged by the news that the government is working on reducing the time and requirements to carry out environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
“Getting EIA approval for new projects is time consuming and carries many restrictions. These factors may be big hurdles for businesses wishing to expand in the marina industry, forcing them to compromise to the point that they lose any potential benefits from joining such projects,” said Mr Bhummikitti.
However, he said that overall, he was encouraged by the prospects for Thai and foreign investors who are willing to work with the government to transform the region into a marine leisure hub.
— Sukawin Tanthavanich
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