Phuket undeterred by Expo bid loss, invests in 5.1 billion baht project

Photo courtesy of Phuket News

Phuket’s development as an International Medical Hub remains steadfast and promising following the unsuccessful bid for the World Specialised Expo 2027/28. Phuket, a top tourist destination, is undeterred and continues with its ambitious government-backed project to carve a niche as an ‘International Medical Hub’.

Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri showed optimism for Phuket’s development amidst the loss, articulating gratitude on behalf of the acting Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha towards the efforts put into promoting Phuket. Consequently, Burapachaisri reassured that the long-term development of Phuket would focus on strengthening infrastructure and economic stability underpinned by principles of sustainability.

Amnuay Pinsuwan, the vice-governor of Phuket, remained steadfast in the county’s commitment to projects linked to the expo. The priority would be developing an international health centre at Mai Khao, the expected expo venue. The health centre aims to satisfy the medical needs of residents and foreign visitors alike, boosting Phuket’s development.

In the wake of the loss, Rewat Areerob, Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO) President, indicated that negotiations would ensue with 18 local partners. The Phuket development discussions would revolve around projects to promote economic advancement and foster tourism in the region, reported The Phuket News.

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On a 141-rai site in Mai Khao, located in the northern part of Phuket, the government intends to construct the ‘Andaman International Health Center’, which will cost more than 5.1 billion baht. Initially, this centre was envisaged as the core of activities planned for the Phuket Expo, with healthcare and wellness as the central theme.

At the end of last year, the Thai Treasury Department reliably confirmed the transfer of the 141 rai land in Mai Khao to the Ministry of Public Health, earmarked for the development of an ‘International Medical Centre’. The Cabinet endorsed a budget of close to 5.1 billion baht to finance the medical centre for Phuket’s development.

Most of the 5.1 billion baht will be allocated to the infrastructure of a new international hospital, the Songklanagarind Hospital Phuket, costing 4.76 billion baht. A further 212.5 million baht will be put towards renovating the ‘International Health and Science College’. Lastly, 141.5 million baht will be spent on refurbishing the ‘International Wellness Center’ and the ‘Digital Dental Center Songklanagarind.

Professor Dr Anek Laothamatas, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), expressed confidence that the Phuket development project would enhance health tourism and contribute to Thailand’s income from foreign visitors looking for medical treatments and superior international tourist facilities.

He also estimated that the Phuket development project could generate a direct income of no less than 1.6 billion baht annually and not less than 300 million baht yearly from dental services. Collectively, the project could potentially stimulate the value of tourism in Andaman by boosting it with an increase of approximately 62 billion baht each year.

Phuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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