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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Unveils Roadmap for Phuket’s Transformation: From Traffic Woes to Tourism Boom

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On a bright Friday in Phuket, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was in high spirits, mapping out a vision to transform the travel and tourism landscape of this tropical paradise. With an air of determination, he stood pointing towards the horizon where an ambitious elevated road is set to connect with Highway 4027, aiming to whisk travellers to the airport in Thalang district with unprecedented speed. The scene captured at Government House was not just a photo opportunity, it was a statement of intent.

Gathered under the roof of Phuket International Airport, local authorities, alongside Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, dived deep into conversation about construction plans destined to slice through the problematic traffic congestion that throttles the island. It was a congregation sparked by urgency, looking for ways to pump life back into the island’s vital tourism artery that has been strained by overcrowding on its roads.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit and other attendees fixated on finding both immediate and futuristic solutions to cut down the snarls of traffic. Ideas floated around, but the limelight was stolen by the proposal of cutting through the mountainous route of Kathu-Pa Tong with a tunnel – a vision that began gestating under the Yingluck Shinawatra government, which has since seen its budget blossom from 8 billion baht to a whopping 16 billion baht.

“This isn’t just about constructing roads or tunnels,” Mr Srettha proclaimed, with a tone resonant of a captain steering his ship through stormy waters, “It’s about embroidering the very fabric of Phuket’s future, ensuring the local community thrives alongside the booming tourism and business sectors.” His words were more than just political rhetoric; they were a beacon of hope for a brighter, less congested Phuket.

Phuket’s allure as a destination is undeniable, yet the specter of relentless traffic jams has been a deterrent, turning away would-be visitors and investors alike. Mr Srettha painted a picture of a future where what used to be a two-hour ordeal to reach a destination could be slashed to a mere 30 minutes, courtesy of the proposed tunnel. “Imagine the possibilities,” he mused, allowing the idea to hang in the air like a promise of freedom.

In an intriguing twist, the Prime Minister drew inspiration from the Maldives, suggesting the exploration of seaplanes as a novel way to criss-cross the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. His vision of connecting Phuket with Koh Samui and Koh Phangan via a seaplane base danced with the promise of unlocking new paths between these island jewels, enhancing the South’s economic framework in a sweep.

Amidst the discussions, Srettha also took the time to inspect the nascent stages of the elevated road project, signaling a concrete step towards easing the journey to the airport. This inspection wasn’t merely procedural; it was symbolic of the government’s resolve to push forward, with Mr Sophon affirming that the necessary budgets for both the tunnel and elevated road were secured, alongside other routes aimed at easing the lives of the local populace.

As Phuket governor Sophon Suwannarat eloquently put it, the meeting was more than a mere exchange of ideas; it was about stitching a stronger infrastructure into the island’s landscape. And with Deputy governor Sattha Thongkham amplifying this resolve by calling for expedited actions on key transport infrastructure projects, it was clear that the island was on the cusp of an infrastructural metamorphosis.

From new routes bridging Bang Muang Mai to the airport to the expansion of thoroughfares and the envisioning of a new Sarasin Bridge, the discussions sketched a future where Phuket’s beauty is made more accessible, where its promise of paradise is not just a dream but a readily attainable reality for all who seek it.

In essence, this gathering wasn’t merely a meeting; it was the dawning of a new era for Phuket, embarking on a journey to refine its gems into a more polished, more inviting beacon for travelers worldwide. Under Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s leadership, the island is set to navigate through its congested waters towards a horizon graced with the freedom of movement and an enriched communal life.


  1. TravellerJoe April 19, 2024

    Public transport improvement is way overdue in Phuket. It’s great to finally see some action, but why has it taken so long? The traffic situation has been a nightmare for years!

    • IslandHopper April 19, 2024

      Action is great, but are these projects the right solution? Tunnels and elevated roads sound expensive and potentially environmentally damaging.

      • GreenHeart April 19, 2024

        Exactly my thoughts! There’s a huge environment cost that’s being overlooked. What about sustainable options like bike lanes or better public transport systems?

      • TravellerJoe April 19, 2024

        Good point on the environment. Maybe the focus should be on balancing development with sustainability. It’s a tourist paradise after all, not just a transport hub.

    • PhuketLocal April 19, 2024

      You visitors always complain but don’t understand the daily struggle of living here. ANY improvement is welcome. Hope this cuts my commute time!

  2. EcoWarrior April 19, 2024

    Investing in seaplanes and cutting through mountains? Sounds like we’re trading one environmental issue for another. This roadmap doesn’t seem very green to me.

  3. BusinessGuy April 19, 2024

    Finally, a vision for growth! Better infrastructure could really boost the local economy and attract more investors. High time Phuket got the upgrade it deserves.

    • SkepticalSam April 19, 2024

      I do wonder how much of this is political posturing versus actual commitment. Infrastructure projects take years and often go over budget. Will the next administration keep the promises?

      • RealistRay April 19, 2024

        That’s politics, unfortunately. But as a local business owner, I’m hopeful. Even a portion of this plan coming to fruition could mean a lot for Phuket.

  4. PhuketAdvocate April 19, 2024

    These changes could transform Phuket, but at what cost to our beautiful island? I fear we’re sacrificing the natural beauty and local culture that make this place special.

    • CultureVulture April 19, 2024

      Agreed. Development should not mean we lose the essence of what makes Phuket unique. There has to be a way to grow while preserving cultural and environmental integrity.

  5. OptimistOliver April 19, 2024

    Change is necessary. People complaining about preservation of culture and environment are the same ones using the roads and demanding better infrastructure. It’s unrealistic to expect no development at all.

  6. FiscalHawk April 19, 2024

    Who’s paying for all this? The article mentions billions in budget, but where’s that money coming from? Taxpayers? Increased tourism fees? There’s no such thing as free infrastructure.

  7. TechieTom April 19, 2024

    Seaplanes connecting islands is an innovative idea. Could really open up new opportunities for tourism and even tech collaborations across islands. Exciting times ahead!

    • IslandResident April 19, 2024

      Innovative, sure, but what about the noise and environmental pollution? Also, how will this impact the local fishermen and marine life? There’s always a downside.

  8. HistoryBuff April 19, 2024

    I hope these developments take into account the historical sites around Phuket. It’s not just beaches, but a lot of cultural heritage that could be at risk with aggressive infrastructure projects.

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