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Phuket Being Developed as a City of “MICE”

May 2, 2011

Located in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand, Phuket Island is being developed into a city of “MICE.” The Government also has a policy to develop Phuket international airport into an aviation hub in this region to promote tourism.

Phuket Province and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, a public organization established to promote the MICE industry in Thailand, have joined hands in pushing for Phuket to become a destination of “meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions,” or MICE.

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said that the development of Phuket into a MICE destination is in line with the Phuket development plan, which seeks to promote the island as a marine tourism city. The plan includes several major projects, such as the expansion of Phuket international airport and the construction of the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center.

The Cabinet has approved an investment budget of about 5.8 billion baht for the expansion of Phuket international airport to increase its capacity, so that it would be able to accommodate more passengers. Today, the airport accommodates around 6.5 million passengers each year. Out of this number, 3.5 million are international passengers and three million are domestic passengers.

The expansion project is designed to accommodate 12.5 million passengers each year through 2018. Out of this number, five million will be international passengers and 7.5 million domestic passengers. It is scheduled for completion in 2013. A number of international airlines use services offered by this modern airport.

As for the construction of the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center, the design has been completed and the construction is expected to be finished in late 2013. The center will be raised on an area of more than 42,000 square meters. There will be a large convention hall for 6,000 persons and many medium and small meeting rooms. Other facilities include a medium-sized hotel and a parking lot for 500 cars. Construction of the center will require a budget of 2.6 billion baht.

There are currently 628 hotels and other types of accommodation with more than 37,500 rooms in Phuket. While Phuket is famous for its sand, sea, and sun, it is also blessed with outstanding culture and an interesting history, which go unknown to a lot of the island’s holiday-makers.

The island, originally known as Thalang, used to be rich in tin ore and served as an important seaport in ancient times. In 1916, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), Phuket was upgraded to the status of province, with Thalang as one of its districts. Present-day Phuket is a far cry from a century ago. Gone are the tin mines, replaced by internationally renowned beach resorts.

Despite enormous development, Phuket still maintains its old Sino-Portuguese architecture, as is evident in several of the island’s buildings. Similar buildings can be seen in Malacca, Penang, and Singapore.

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