An outline of the renovation plans for the Phuket Gateway, which is located at the northern tip of the island near where the Sarasin Bridge joins Phuket to the mainland, was announced by Governor Norraphat during a press conference at the site 4:50pm, yesterday (June 29).
Governor Norraphat did not specify the amount of money that would be budgeted to fund the renovations.
The Phuket Gateway was opened in 2007 as a attraction for tourists to stop at when entering or leaving the island. It consists of a meeting room, a local-product shop, an office, a service room and provided tourist information to visitors.
There are also are 29 decorative columns which detail Phuket’s history, culture, natural resources, art, tourism attractions, architecture and local industries.
The Gateway was built on 25 rai of government land with its initial budget of B46.7 million sourced from tax revenue collected by the OrBorJor.
The budget later blew out to B50mn when it was completed and opened in 2007 by then President of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization,Anchalee Vanichthepabutr.
Since then it has failed to attract significant numbers of tourists and has been widely criticised as a waste of government funds.
At the press conference yesterday Governor Norraphat said, “We want to renovate the Phuket Gateway and make it a must-visit provincial landmark. This attraction will be renovated to become a popular spot to stop to take photos and take break. Also, the traffic signs, landscaping and buildings have to be renovated.”
The governor also said the renovation plans include provisions for a shopping centre offering locally-sourced products such as pearls, batik prints, pineapples and other souvenirs.
“Phuket invested a lot in this project, but never put it to much use. We want to bring it back to life now,” Governor Norraphat added.
Chutima Chanmee, Head of tourism and Sport at Phuket Provincial Administration Organization, said, “The OrBorJor invested a lot in the Phuket Gateway but the reality is that is has not been successful. We have discussed it extensively with the officials involved to figure out this issue and we are in the process of drafting a budget for the project.