As reported in Business ths week, construction is on track for the B400 million Bukis Phuket Mall, being developed on the plot of land in between Central Festival and Big C Supercenter on the bypass road.
And it’s only the beginning of the current retail boom, with a handful of up-and-coming projects breaking ground on prime central real estate, which together make up a public-private sector drive to position Phuket as an international “shopping paradise”, and thus add one more “S” to the island's destination appeal list, which also includes Sand, Sea, Sun and Surf, among others.
Indeed, the island’s shopping options are set to double up in the coming years, with a handful of big name, big money projects to look forward to.
Among them include: The Mall Group’s BluPearl shopping mall, a B20 billion project to be built on Phra Phuket Kaew road, about a kilometre west from Tesco Lotus Extra Kathu; Central Group’s Central West, a B13 billion project, which also will include a hotel and aquarium, and which has already broke ground on the plot opposite and to the south of Central Festival on Wichit Songkhram Rd, (previously occupied by the Thai Nan restaurant); the King Power Phuket Complex, a B2 billion project in Vichit, on the short-cut route between Honda Chao Fa West and Makro; and GMS Duty Free Department Store, with construction of the B500 million outlet nearly finished on Phra Phuket Kaew Rd, just opposite dCondo Mine, near Kajonkiet International School.
On one hand, more shopping malls could provide numerous benefits for the local and national economy. For one, thousands of new jobs will be created for locals; increased tax revenue could mean increased budgets for local municipalities; and not tomention, tourists and residents will have more places to escape the blistering tropical heat while spending their hard-earned dough, and thus putting more capital into circulation.
With more places to go, there will be more things to do, and this goes without saying that the quality of life could improve for locals.
But on the other hand, an influx of shopping malls may also put additional stresses on the local environment and infrastructure.
How are we going to adequately power them all – never mind the rest of Phuket whose power demand is already insatiable?
Interesting enough, according to one report, some shopping malls in the Thai capital, for example, require more electricity than some upcountry provinces.
As for impacts on the local economy, it can also be argued, as we have seen in the past, that a predominate mall culture will negatively impact smaller retail businesses in the community, which will struggle to compete with larger chain brands, and many may even go out of business.
Indeed, the “shopping paradise” strategy could go either way for Phuket – boon or bust – depending who you ask.
We want to know what you think, and so our latest poll asks:
How much positive effects do you think shopping mega malls have on the island?
The choices are as follows:
1. A lot, mega-malls are a boon to the island’s economy and provide arenas for social interaction.
2. Some, but they must be well maintained and populated to create the best long-term positive effect.
3. Not much, they add to the economy and bring some benefits to the community, but not as much as some people claim they do.
4. Very little, their financial, social and environmental costs to the community outweigh their benefits.
5. No opinion.
Vote now by clicking here.
The Poll will run online until August 21.