Phuket Exhibition and Convention Centre ‘guaranteed’ to be built?

Construction News

The Phuket Exhibition and Convention Centre proposed for Mai Khao Beach is ‘guaranteed’ to be built if the Thailand Democrat Party retains power in the upcoming elections, according to Finance Minister, Korn Chatikavanij.

At a meeting held in Phuket Town this week to review architects plans for the development, when questioned what would happen to the project if the Democratic Party fails to win the election, Chatikavanij replied; “I don’t know the other parties’ policies, but next term if we are still in the Government, I guarantee the project will continue. I expect the centre to be finished by the start of 2014.”

Three architectural firms were chosen to present their designs at the meeting with the contract to be awarded by the end of March 2011.

The first design, by KAED 103, was in the shape of a turtle shell – a reference to the Leatherback Turtles who come ashore each year on Mai Khao Beach to lay their eggs.

The second was by SPAN & FED, whose design represented a conch shell. The final proposal, by ASD, was shaped like a pearl oyster shell.

After the hearing attendees aired their views on the project. One man stated he would have preferred more of a Thai or Sino-Portuguese design and recommended that more care should be taken in planning security and protection against natural disasters.

The President of the Phuket Tourism Association, Somboon Jirayu, remarked that he would like to see more parking spaces for buses and didn’t want hotel rooms to be built at the centre because there were already sixty thousand rooms all across Phuket and about seven thousand rooms in Khao Lak.

“This number is enough to support visitors to the centre”, he said.

An interesting point of view if the whole point of building a MICE venue is to attract more visitors to Phuket.

The project was approved in October 2009 with a budget of 2.6 billion baht from the Thai Khem Kaeng economic fund. Construction is due to start in September this year and completion is expected in approximately three years.

“During this time we also need to figure out what is the best choice for transportation systems connecting the centre with the airport and Phuket Town,” commented Finance Minister Korn.

“It may be a monorail – whatever it is, if the centre is finished and the airport is expanded with improved transportation, the standard of tourism will be raised in the Andaman region, creating long-term benefits for the economy,” he added.

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