Green light sought for Phuket deal

Green light sought for Phuket deal

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is preparing to ask the government next month to approve a multi-billion-baht project, jointly proposed by treasury and health officials, to develop world-class medical tourism in Phuket.

The officials want to turn 141 rai of land on the resort island into a medical and wellness tourist destination.

"The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on Nov 3," said Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, chairman of the FTI's southern chapter.

He believes medical tourism could boost the southern economy as Thailand continues to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

Business people in the southern region wants the government to support this project, which is expected to help the economy in Phuket and neighbouring provinces grow in a sustainable way.

The FTI's southern chapter covers 11 provinces: Krabi, Phuket, Phangnga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon and Songkhla.

The medical tourism project requires a budget of around 3 billion baht.

There will be tertiary care and high-tech treatment with long-distance medical transport for foreign patients; a global-standard dental hospital; a wellness centre for elderly care, sports therapy and traditional treatment; and a medical school to produce doctors, pharmacists, nurses, traditional doctors and medical laboratory scientists.

The FTI will also urge the government to support small and medium–sized enterprises (SMEs).

"In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector," Mr Kitkong said.

Economic rehabilitation packages are needed to help cope with liquidity shortages and gain better access to loans.

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