Phuket could transform from tourist destination to a hub for meetings and events if the Thai Association for Town Planning receives approval for its blueprint to revamp the island. The government hopes these plans spur infrastructure investment throughout Phuket and could ultimately drive up land prices.
The current draft of the new town planning regulations would allow for the construction of high-rise structures along the coast of Phuket. Current laws state a building within 50 metres of the shore can be no taller than six metres while buildings between 50 and 200 metres from the beach can be no taller than 12 metres.
The proposed new town plan would allow developers to build structures of up to 15 storeys along the coast and up to 25 storeys elsewhere on the island. The Interior Ministry continues to hold public hearings and reviews and no changes have been approved as of yet.
However, should the new town plan gain approval, Thai Association for Town Planning President Thapana Boonyapravit believes more than THB300 billion of investment could be expected in Phuket. The Thai government has stated its desire to turn Phuket into a major player for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, also known as MICE, and this would support those ambitions.
Earlier this year, the government announced that it is planning to spend THB1 billion on constructing four convention centres near Patong Beach.
“In the next five years, a Mice district will be constructed near Patong Beach, where all roads will be designed to be pedestrian-friendly,” Thapana told the Bangkok Post. “The roads leading to Phuket airport will be upgraded and the number of public buses will be increased.”
Also in the works is a second airport that would help reduce the burden currently on Phuket International Airport. Phuket’s second airport will be built at a cost of THB 70 billion. The project has already been approved by Airports of Thailand and construction is expected to begin this year. No opening date has been set, but the government did say it would be finished no later than 2025.
The new town plan, along with the current planned infrastructure projects, should benefit the Phuket property market with land prices likely to soar.
“This will help spur Phuket’s economy and drive up the price of land by two to three times,” Thapana concluded.