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Phuket officials, tourism leaders move for ‘Stepping Forward’ campaign

Phuket officials, tourism leaders move for ‘Stepping Forward’ campaign

PHUKET: Leading Phuket tourism and business leaders have joined together to promote a “Phuket Stepping Forward” campaign, highlighting why Phuket should be reopened to resume business as usual.

By The Phuket News

Monday 21 February 2022, 10:29AM

The event, held at Laguna Beach Phuket on Saturday (Feb 19), was attended by Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong and Rewat Areerob, President of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor), along with Pattanachai Singhawara, Director Southern Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau or (TCEB Southern), Thanet Petchsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Asia and the Pacific at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and Thanet Tantipiriyakit Chairman of the Phuket Tourism Council .

Also present were well-known and respected Phuket-based surgeon Dr Sanguan Kunaporn; Pracha Asawatheera, Director Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), Upper Southern Region; Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of Phuket Tourist Association; and Ravi Chandra, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket.

Dr Sanguan put forward the point simply: “Phuket is ready. If COVID is designated an endemic disease, we will live 99.99% like we did before COVID-19.”

“COVID-19 could be designated an endemic disease, like a common cold only if: 1. The virus is ready; 2. The central government is ready; 3. Local government and private sectors are ready; and 4. People are ready,” he said.

However, he explained, “If looking at Thailand, and especially Phuket: 1. The virus is ‘ready’; 2. The Thai government is still ‘stuck’; 3. The local government and private sectors in Phuket are ‘ready’; and 4. The people of Phuket are ‘almost’ ready.”

Mr Rewat said that projects were already underway to support the development of Phuket to support the Phuket MICE industry, and major events to be held in Phuket.

He added that he recently attended the executive meeting of the Southern branch of the TCEB to discuss developing Phuket’s MICE industry.

The PPAO is already working with local municipalities to clean up and make landscape improvements along Thepkrasattri Rd, Route 402, the main road down the centre of the island, and to jointly “develop a clean and livable city”, he said.

“And the important point is to develop tourist attractions to support the opening of the city in full,” Mr Rewat said.

Mr Rewat also noted that the PPAO was working on “solving the problem of the public transport system” and “accelerating the development of the mass transit system from the airport to Rawai, to reduce traffic congestion making travel more convenient”.

Of note, Mr Rewat referred to the mass transit system not as a light-rail project, but as an “EV bus system”.

QSI International School Phuket

Mr Pracha, the Upper Southern Region for DEPA, promoted the “5G Phuket Data Sandbox” project, supported by the Digital Economy and Society Development Fund.

“In order to drive the country’s 5G strategy, the project is divided into two parts: the Smart Gates system with face recognition technology and the Phuket Data Sandbox system to connect data,” he said.

“This is to open tourism in Phuket for safety care and disease control, which is considered a Smart Living project in the plan to drive Smart City in Phuket,” he added.

Mr Pattanachai, Director of the TCEB’s Southern Thailand branch, explained that progress was being made in Phuket’s bid to host a Specialized Expo in 2028.

The theme proposed is “Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity”, or “L’Avenir de la Vie: Vivre en Harmonie, Partager les Prospérités”, he said.

Sarun Charoensuwan, Ambassador of Thailand to France, and Worawut Somwangprasert, Minister of Commercial Affairs at the Thai Embassy in Paris, had officially submitted the bid Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), on Jan 11.

“In the coming months of July-August, the Bureau International des Expositions committee will meet with Thai government representatives in Phuket to see the readiness of Thailand to host such events,” Mr Pattanachai said.

The event on Saturday culminated with a panel discussion on “Thailand Travel Mart + 2022 Phuket”, led by Mr Thanet, the TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Asia and the Pacific, joined by Phuket Tourism Council Chairman Mr Thanet, PTA President Mr Bhummikitti and Laguna Phuket Managing Director Mr Chandra.

The annual travel mart event had been cancelled and postponed for the past two years due to COVID-19, Mr Thanet explained.

“In the year 2022, the government plans to announce the opening of the country to welcome foreign tourists to travel to the country. This will benefit the economy and employment as a whole of the country, especially the tourism sector and related service sectors,” he said.

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