Waste management, including the handling of wastewater in Phuket, also hit the agenda.
France Ambassador Jacques Lapouge led the delegation, which included Counselor for Cooperation and Culture Fabian Forni, Second Secretary (Chief of Consular Section) Samira Abdelli and Honorary Consul in Phuket Claude de Crissey.
“At present, there are approximately 8,000 French people living in Phuket,” Amb Lapouge noted.
The French community was already involved in many investment-driven projects, he added, highlighting the BCIS Phuket International School now open in Chalong.
Other projects discussed included the light rail and several Phuket port projects, noted a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department.
“This is a good opportunity to exchange information between each other, especially as Phuket is going to have a light-rail mass transit system in the future. In addition, France is interested in safety information, especially the tourism situation in Phuket, notably the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand after the Phoenix disaster,” Amb Lapouge said.
Governor Phakaphong explained, “Phuket has set a policy to focus on creating safety standards for both land and water transport. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Phuket after the boat incident (the Phoenix disaster, which killed 47 Chinese tourists), has decreased.
“At present, Phuket is building confidence in the safety of tourists. Chinese people are becoming more confident in traveling to Phuket,” Gov Phakaphong said.
“For transportation development projects in the Phuket area, the government has a policy to develop public transportation, specifically light rail, which will be the first light-rail in the region. This will allow the private sector to invest In such projects as well,” he added.
Gov Phakaphong noted that Phuket has much to learn from the French in terms of waste management.
“This meeting has given us the opportunity to discuss waste disposal by using technology to manage garbage collection in Thailand. Waste disposal in Thailand does not use waste separation, but in France there is clear separation of waste,” he said.
“France has a private-sector company that through innovation can separate up to 80% of waste, from which organic waste can be transformed into compost and fully utilised. Therefore, it is hoped that there will be cooperation between each other in order to carry out such a project in waste management in the area of Phuket,” he added.
Another area where French involvement may be of benefit to Phuket is in the boat-building industry, Gov Phakaphong noted.
“Phuket is a center for yachting and the French have a strong vantage point in the aluminum industry, which is a quality raw material for shipbuilding,” he pointed out.
Another area where French expertise may be if benefit is the handling of wastewater in Patong, the Governor noted.
Patong Municipality will present information about its wastewater management, Gov Phakaphong said, noting that reverse-osmosis could be used to treat wastewater so it can be used again elsewhere.