Phuket gears up for expo bid

Phuket gears up for expo bid

Preparations are underway in Phuket for its bid to host the Specialised Expo 2028-Phuket Thailand, an event the tourism-dependent province hopes will help generate more revenue.

The expo will be organised under the theme "Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity" to stress the importance of healthy living and sharing wealth and carries a message of tackling social discrepancies, according to the provincial governor Narong Woonciew.

Phuket is competing with the United States, Argentina, Serbia and Spain for the right to stage the event.

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which is responsible for selecting the host, said if Phuket is successful the expo would take place between March 20 and June 17, 2028.

In January, Thailand submitted a letter of candidature to the BIE. The letter, from Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, was handed to the BIE's secretary-general, Dimitri S Kerkentzes, by Sarun Charoensuwan, the Thai ambassador to France.

Mr Narong said delegates from Phuket will be in France on June 20 to put its case to the BIE.

In July, the BIE committee will fly to Phuket to assess the province's suitability to stage the event.

The governor said the expo would create a new revenue stream for the province, which is reliant predominantly on tourism.

Its economy has been left in dire straits by the pandemic, prompting the province to explore other revenue-generating avenues.

"We've proposed Phuket being highlighted as a medical hub at the expo. We'll focus on Phuket's development of its public health capacity and standard of living," Mr Narong said, referring to the expo's theme.

The BIE will decide next year which country will host the event.

Almost 5 million people are expected to visit the expo, generating 50 billion baht, the governor said, adding the Hua Koh area spanning 141 rai in tambon Mai Khao has been earmarked as the expo site.

He said seven working teams would prepare the site for the BIE's upcoming inspection.

Pattanachai Singhawara, director of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau's southern office, said Phuket draws its economic strength from health and wellness businesses and the expo's theme reflects that well.

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