Mr Weerapong was last in Phuket on Aug 3 to highlight the upcoming meeting and to coordinate official prepations to host the meeting.
Speaking at the On On Hotel in Phuket Town, and joined by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Mr Weerapong yesterday again highlighted how Phuket hosting the meeting would put Phuket’s attractions as a tourism destination on show for the ministerial delegates and their media entourages.
He also repeated how Phuket hosting the APEC SME meeting would highlight the Thai government’s intention to follow an “Economic Model for Sustainable Development (BCG Model)”, which “aimed to build engagement with 21 leading economic zones in the Asia-Pacific region”.
“We hope to increase the capacity to expand opportunities for SMEs to enter the global supply chain and prepare for new challenges which will take place in Next Normal with Soft Power of Phuket, showing the potential of Thailand’s readiness to accept tourists and trade and investment that will help add value to the Thai economy in the near future,” Mr Weerapong said.
Mr Weerapong again highlighted how Phuket as a tourism centre is “a destination for tourists around the world that can generate income from tourism as the second largest after Bangkok”.
In Mr Weerapong’s view, Phuket has already developed international-standard service innovations, including being a “MICE CITY”.
“Phuket also has development guidelines aimed at creating Soft Power in various areas to reduce dependence on mainstream tourism, thereby fixing weaknesses revealed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
“The fact that Phuket has been chosen as the venue for this APEC SME meeting is a great opportunity as a representative of the Thai economic zone to show our potential and readiness to open our house to welcome delegates from 21 Asia-Pacific economic zones, including delegates in trade, investment, tourism,” he said.
“At the same time, SME entrepreneurs in Phuket, numbering 42,598 and employing more than 224,905 workers, have also shown their potential and readiness and can create opportunities for business operators in Phuket and nearby areas to be recognised internationally. This will be a mechanism to create an economy for the area in the future,” he added.
Mr Weerapong pointed out that the delegates will hail from 21 nations that together create more than half of the world’s GDP.
“The organisation of this meeting is therefore important to promote Thai SMEs with the goal of creating participation in determining attitudes that will preserve the interests of Thais and SMEs in the multilateral cooperation arena. It will also connect Thai SMEs with business partners in the Asia-Pacific region and thus increase our competitiveness and economic opportunity and empower Thai SMEs to enter the global supply chain,” Mr Weerapong said.