The Transport Ministry will request a 148-billion-baht budget for upgrading infrastructure in Phuket, including building a second airport on the resort island, to make it a regional tourism hub.
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit revealed after a meeting in Phuket on Thursday that the government is pushing incentives to boost tourism, such as visa exemptions and transport infrastructure improvement.
The ministry is preparing to propose seven infrastructure projects worth 148 billion baht to improve both land and air transport to facilitate incoming visitors to Phuket and to maximise the city's capacity for investment, economy, trade and national security.
Mr Suriya said the seven projects include multiple highways across Phuket, highway extensions, overpasses and the second Phuket airport.
He noted that the budget should be distributed during fiscal 2024, and some of the projects should be completed by 2026, especially highway projects so locals and tourists can easily access Phuket via land transport.
Phuket's deputy governor, Amnuay Pinsuwan, said local government agencies and the business sector are ready to propose their demands to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his tour of Phuket on Friday.
He said Phuket would like to improve its waste management system, water problems and environmental issues. Moreover, it eyes improved city planning and safety for locals and tourists, which would be tied to the "Andaman Wellness Economic Corridor".
Mr Amnuay said the legal procedures for financial assistance have been studied, and officials are ready to pitch the plans to the prime minister.
"The government is pushing policies to boost tourism and visa exemptions. I would like to guarantee that Phuket is ready to facilitate such schemes," Mr Amnuay added.