On October 7th, at Phuket Merlin Hotel, Niwit Aroonrat, a Vice Governor of Phuket, presided over the opening of a seminar entitled “Tourism and Business in Phuket: Risk and Challenges from Climate Change” held under the association of Phuket City Municipality and Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) following a project called Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network or ACCCRN. supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
ACCCAN project had been running in 10 cities of Vietnam, Indonesian, India and Thailand in order to encourage people to be more prepared for the results of global warming and climate change and to make plans and cooperation between the member countries to deal with and manage the consequences of the phenomenon.
In Thailand, there were 2 pilot cities for the project, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai, while Phuket, Samut Songkram, and Udornthani were the networking (or shortlisted) cities in this project. In Phuket, climate change would directly affect its tourism. The possible problems would be dead coral caused by increasing sea temperatures and increasing sea level along the island’s coast. It is estimated that in next 30 years, the sea level could increase 20% more!. This would cause stronger monsoon seasons which would increase coastal erosion. Therefore, every sector needed to think about the solutions to this future crisis because Phuket City was not like a city that usually faced very strong monsoons, but could in the future.
The meeting focussed on climate change issues and implications on the tourism industry of Phuket. The objective is to promote awareness on climate change and its significance as threats and opportunities to the economic development and tourism of Phuket. Key speakers provided information on climate science along with a discussion panel to share knowledge and experiences. Participants included selected local and provincial government agencies. Stakeholders from private and business sectors contributed through interactive discussion led by TEI.