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Welcome Gate to officially open

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Welcome Gate to officially open | Thaiger

TAH CHAT CHAI: More than three years after it was initially conceived, the Phuket Welcome Gate will have its grand opening ceremony on the auspicious date of September 9. The gate, proposed and championed by Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (

OrBorJor) President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutra, will welcome tourists onto the island with a history of the province and a rest stop area.

The grand opening, to begin at 2 pm, will include an exhibition of photos from HM The King’s visit to Phuket in 1966, a painting competition and a sale of local food and goods. Prime Minister Gen Surayud Chulanont has been invited to chair the event.

The ceremony will follow the Welcome Gate’s soft opening on April 11, when elderly residents of Phuket were invited to the site. Since then the electrical systems have been completed and landscaping put in place.

The entire project is on 25 rai of government land near the island’s northernmost tip, where the Thepkrasattri Bridge crosses into Phuket. The project, initially funded with 46.7 million baht in tax revenue collected by the OrBorJor, ended up costing 50 million baht.

K. Anchalee said the Welcome Gate will be the first “living room” to welcome visitors to Phuket. Facilities will include a service and information center, meeting room with 60 seats, a library with six Internet-enabled computers, a restaurant and a shop for One Tambon One Product (OTOP) goods.

There are also 29 seven-meter-tall concrete pillars, each engraved with passages explaining Phuket’s history in Thai and English, and a 21.8-meter tall granite sculpture.

The center, to operate from 9 am to 6 pm daily, will have parking spaces for 10 buses and 50 cars.

The project has not been without controversy. Critics have pointed to it as an environmentally irresponsible and an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money, with some hotel owners citing it as a reason for not paying the 1% room tax imposed on them by the OrBorJor.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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