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Phuket waits with bated breath to hear if it will host Specialised Expo 2028

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Phuket officials are on countdown, as they wait to discover if the province will be successful in its bid to host the Specialised Expo 2028. On paper the Thai island province has a 1 in 5 chance, vying against other more-established international cities.

Phuket’s principal challenges for winning the bid include its lack of public transportation, troubled taxi industry, lack of accommodation options to the north of the island (where facilities will be constructed for the Expo) and lack of conference facilities.

But the Bangkok Post reports that competition has been tough, with the island up against Minnesota, in the US, the Serbian capital Belgrade, Malaga in Spain, and Bariloche in Argentina – all with much more mature infrastructure for such an event. But in Phuket’s favour, the event has never been run in SE Asia.

The successful host will be confirmed this Wednesday, June 21. Thai officials are not wasting time and have been talking up the island’s against-the-odds bid. According to the president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the possibility of Phuket hosting has a history prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya says Phuket was already planning a state-of-the-art health and wellness centre, to be run by Vachira Phuket Hospital, at the northern end of the island. Hospital representatives subsequently met with officials to see how the project could be extended to bring more value to the island. The decision was to apply to host the Specialised Expo 2028 event, with Cabinet approving the proposal in November 2021.

As part of the project, the Transport Ministry has approved an investment of around 80 billion baht to improve transport infrastructure on the island, including a 42 kilometre electric train and an EV-Bus Rapid Transit project.

(These two projects has been much-discussed under the banner of the Phuket Light Rail project and involve the

The government has also earmarked 4.18 billion baht to host the event, which is in addition to the 1.4 billion baht given to Vachira Hospital for its wellness hub.

If Phuket’s bid is successful, the event is expected to generate up to 50 billion baht for the economy and attract around 5 million visitors. The expo, which will take place from March 21 to June 20, 2028, is also expected to create over 113,400 jobs for the island and have a positive knock-on effect for tourism on neighbouring islands.

According to the Bangkok Post report, the 124 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions, which oversees World Expos, are expected to vote for their chosen host on Wednesday, June 21.

The country that gets two-thirds of the votes will get to host the event. However, if no country reaches that number, it will be a process of elimination, with the country with the lowest number of votes in each round dismissed from the competition. Voting will continue in this manner until a winner is chosen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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