Regulations hamper Phuket’s MICE aspirations

City rules prohibit construction of exhibition hall bigger than 6,000sqm and higher than 23m

Town planning rules in Phuket prohibit any buildings larger than 6,000sqm and higher than 23m.
Town planning rules in Phuket prohibit any buildings larger than 6,000sqm and higher than 23m.


BANGKOK - Thailand's bid to promote Phuket as a world-class MICE destination has hit a snag after the island's town planning rules prohibit the construction of large buildings.

Phuket was chosen by the Thai government as one of five key MICE cities, along with capital Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and Pattaya.

Phuket deputy governor Tanyawat Chanpinit said the province has a blueprint to build an exhibition hall to host international events with a capacity of 5,000. But town planning rules prohibit building a hall larger than 6,000sqm and higher than 23 metres.

"The city needs to amend the existing town planning regulations to allow this construction," Mr Tanyawat was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.

The likely destination for the hall is at the Talang district. Mr Tanyawat hopes the facility can be built in a few years' time and thus be able to bid for international events such as world expos.

Data from TCEB showed that Phuket has great potential as a MICE city. Transport infrastructure in Phuket has continued to be developed, including the expansion of the international airport, to increase passenger capacity from 12.5 million to 18 million passengers annually, with flights operating to and from destinations in East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

The province also has 14 cruise ship docks, four marinas, and a plan to construct a light rail system from the airport to the city centre. Phuket province currently has 220 venues able to host meetings and seminars, some 40,000 accommodation units, and is known for its cultural diversity and many community learning centres.

Phuket has welcomed more than 2.2 million domestic and international MICE travellers in 2018, a 167.94% jump from the previous year, generating revenue of 19.544 billion baht (US$639 million).