“Phuket was selected as the host location for the meeting in consideration of the potential of the province in welcoming the ministers with a focus on small business operators, which are considered as the frontline of the country’s economy,” Mr Weerapong said.
“The OSMEP believes that the results of this meeting will make various information helpful as a guideline for all relevant sectors for the promotion of developing SME entrepreneurs to recover sustainably and comprehensively, and have the ability to develop into part of the global supply chain and for them to be prepared to able to effectively cope with new challenges that arise in the future,” Mr Weerapong noted.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew explained that in addition to the ministerial meeting, other related meetings will be held on the island.
“In the event area, there will be a showcase of SME entrepreneurs developed with the BCG approach [Bio-Circular-Green economic model],” he added.
“At the same time, parallel activities will be held to show the potential of Thailand’s readiness to drive the economy after the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
“The outstanding qualities of Phuket will be on show, whether they be the tourist attractions, the food or the cultural lifestyle of the Phuket Old Town, all of which is important as a ‘soft power,” Governor Narong said.
“We will be welcoming tourists from all over the world, including potential SME business operators, who are the main driving force of the area,” he said.
SME operators in Phuket suffered heavily under the tourism shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period when the island’s economy shrunk by 83%.
In October last year representatives from small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the island called on the OSMEP to provide support by providing access to low-interest loans without the onerous requirements currently required by government agencies and to set up a fund so they can reopen to serve tourists.