PHUKET CITY: At his monthly meeting with provincial chief officers yesterday morning, Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura called for the government and the private sector to continue their cooperative efforts to help Phuket to full recovery by next high season.
Gov Udomsak said that Phuket had recovered faster than other places affected by the tsunami because the government and the private sector had worked well together, and he commended that central government’s policy that all ministers involved must regularly visit affected areas in order to check on how recovery projects are progressing.
“It is lucky for us that we all understood what Phuket needed, which is different to other places where they could not agree and lost the chance for their tourism to recover quickly.
“I heard that many hotels [in Phuket] have about 70%-80% occupancy, which, after 2006, I believe will back to 100%,” Gov Udomsak said.
He added that he believes Khao Lak and the Phi Phi Islands will take about two more years to fully recover.
“Nowhere was left without feeling the pain of the tsunami, and for 2006 I would like to ask every official to get involved and help to improve tourism in Phuket,” he said.
“And thank you to everyone involved in organizing the tsunami memorial services. We had many international media organizations, such as CNN and the BBC, help promote Phuket. I believe Phuket’s good image will be restored soon.
“We have received a great deal of praise from the international media saying that Phuket is fine now,” Gov Udomsak said.
He added that tsunami memorial services gave him the opportunity to highlight Phuket’s major problems to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinatwatra and visiting Cabinet ministers, including Agriculture Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan. “I explained to her about Phuket’s chronic water shortage problems. She said would return to look into the problem herself, but she could not give a date when,” he said.
Similarly, he explained other problems and projects currently underway to other ministers, he said.
“I explained the many projects that are needed to solve Phuket’s problems. Don’t worry, I am always ready to take a shot at goal if the ball touches my feet,” Gov Udomsak quipped.