On April 28th 2011, at 9.30 a.m. Mr.Alongkorn Pollabutr, the Minister of Commerce, presided over the seminar ‘How should Phuket prepare for the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) and Asean Economic Community (AEC)’ held by Phuket Rajabhat University and International Trade Negotiation Department, the Ministry of Commerce. The seminar was held at Metropole Phuket Hotel. It aimed to make people understand and be ready for the opening of AFTA.
Mr.Alongkorn mentioned that the countries in ASEAN would be more united in terms of marketing, manufacturing bases, service bases, investment, and others. Trade between countries in ASEAN is worth 1,700,000 million U.S. dollars. In Thailand, the turnover of trading with member countries will be 200,000 million U.S. dollars. So Phuket should be preparing for this growth of economy. The island should be enhanced to be the capital city of tourism and expand its tourism market and invest more to other ASEAN countries, along with study about the benefits and advantages of AFTA. Local entrepreneurs are required to study and improve their capability to provide their services or products. The government will be supporting them on this.
He also mentioned that it is worth focusing more on tourists from countries in the Bay of Bengal since one third of the world’s population live in this area.