PHUKET TOWN: Backpackers should be discouraged from visiting Phuket because they bring problems such as drugs, Deputy Prime Minister Korn Dabbaransi has told local officials. In a wide-ranging meeting with local leaders at Provincial Hall on Wednesday, he also mentioned that employers in Phuket should take responsiblity for controlling levels of Burmese laborers and that the runway at Phuket Airport needed to be lengthened so that Boeing 747s could land on it. Local authorities delivered presentations on the environment, society and culture, tourism, and Phuket’s basic infrastructure. At the meeting were Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi, Phuket Tourist Association President Pattanapong Aikwanich, Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pamuke Achariyachai, Members of Parliament Chalermlak Kebsab and Suwit Sa-Ngiamkul, mayors and other officials. MP Chalermlak said that Phuket needed a top-quality sports stadium to become the venue for international events. Some concern was expressed at the meeting about work permits for foreigners and the potential for Thais losing jobs to foreigners. The Deputy Prime Minister earlier toured the Gems Gallery, Tesco-Lotus and a Seven-11 shop with members of the Consumer Protection Board from Bangkok.
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