The Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-Ngob and Deputy Mayor of Nice Mercier Rudy Salles, met & discussed cooperation last week, reassuring prolonged ‘sister cities’ ties between Phuket province in Thailand and Nice of France. The meeting between a Phuket delegation led by the Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-Ngob and Nice Deputy Mayor Rudy Salles took part at the Nice municipality’s office or Hotel De Ville, on the south coast or French Riviera.
The meeting of minds was the main objective for the Phuket official trip during July 16-23, when Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-Ngob led local government leaders and 3 chief district officers plus a representative from Phuket’s private sector to pay a visit to Nice.
The two cities have held close ties for 21 years. The trip followed Nice’s Deputy Mayor’s letter of invitation via the Thai Ministry of Interior. Both parties discussed to cooperate and exchange more on tourism, business investment, education and culture. On this occasion, the Phuket Governor urged French investors to invest in tourism related business in Phuket including marina and property development. Mr. Wichai also took the opportunity to assure the French people of Phuket’s safety and tranquility highlighting the local hospitality to welcome visitors. In 2009 about 95,000 French tourists visited Phuket. He is confident that the local government leaders who accompanied him learnt a great deal out of the trip, especially on the tourist city management including beach and the landscape plus public services.
The Deputy Mayor of Nice, Rudy Salles, pointed out that both cities are famous tourist destinations and each receives over 5 million tourists per year. So it’s important that they exchange knowledge and skill on tourism to lead to sustainable development.
Salles however knows that there is no direct air link between Phuket and Nice and that airlines are looking for possible direct air links with Asian countries such as Thailand or China.
Bhutitt Maswongssa, vice president of Phuket Tourist Association, saw the opportunity for convenient accessibility among travelers, pointing out that it can be through Qatar Airways. He said at present Qatar Airways flies direct to Nice from Doha and will begin to fly direct from Doha to Phuket in October. That means the promotion can be done through the airline.
Meanwhile the Phuket City Mayor, Somjai Suwansupana, appreciated the tidy landscaping of Nice saying that Phuket local government leaders can apply this in their respective areas. Her main interest is the cultural and education exchange programs. Having schools in her responsibilities, the City mayor pointed out that French language can be introduced if the teachers or student exchange program occurs.
Apart from meeting with the Nice government, the Phuket local government leaders also had an opportunity to tour around major tourist cities nearby such as Monte Carlo, Cannes and Milan. The Rawai Mayor Arun Soros admitted that these cities are good examples for suitable beach regulation and management plus public services. Some he said can be applied in Phuket.
During the meeting the Phuket Governor invited the Nice mayor to pay a visit to Phuket next time. Located on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea in France, Nice houses around 580,000 in population. The city, similar to Phuket, relies heavily on tourism.