Cabinet meeting to move to Phuket

Cabinet meeting to move to Phuket

Proposals to revive local economy

Officials of Phuket and Government House meet on Thursday to prepare a cabinet meeting in the southern resort province next month. (Photo by Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Officials of Phuket and Government House meet on Thursday to prepare a cabinet meeting in the southern resort province next month. (Photo by Achadthaya Chuenniran)

Preparations are underway for a mobile cabinet meeting which will be held in Phuket next month. Local authorities and businessmen have been asked to present proposals to revive the local economy that has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Phuket governor Narong Woonsiew chaired a meeting of business leaders to discuss preparations for the mobile cabinet meeting scheduled for Nov 2-3. Cabinet members will listen to the views of residents and business operators on how to help rebuild the tourism-dependent economy in Phuket.

He said the island province has suffered disastrous economic impacts from the pandemic which has continued unabated in many parts of the world, causing a huge loss in tourism revenue.

Before the Covid-19 crisis, Phuket generated tourism income of over 400 billion baht annually. Currently, no foreign tourists have been allowed to enter Thailand, with only Thai tourists visiting Phuket, Mr Narong said.

He added the province has been chosen as the meeting's venue because the government has realised the extent of economic destruction suffered by the local economy.

"Phuket is grateful that it is the cabinet's venue of choice. This gives us hope for economic recovery. We have experienced many economic hardships before and we are discussing what to propose as immediate and long-term solutions to the cabinet," Mr Narong said.

He said that Phuket has been preparing for the arrival of foreign tourists under a Special Tourist Visa (STV) programme launched by the government on Oct 1. Holders of this special visa will be allowed to first stay in the country for up to 90 days, with a chance to renew the visas twice for a maximum 90 days each time.

Mr Narong said he wanted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to inspect Phuket's preparations for foreign tourist arrivals during the cabinet meeting. The PM may act as a tourist with an STV, going through all the procedures, which would be filmed and shown to boost tourists' confidence in disease control measures to prevent a second wave of the pandemic. Mr Narong added that Phuket is expected to be reopened to foreign tourists after Oct 25.

The governor added he wants the cabinet to instruct state agencies to organise meetings and seminars on how to boost local income.

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