Next Mobile Cabinet Meeting on Samui Island in the South
The meeting is scheduled for 21-22 October 2012 at International School of Tourism, which is part of Surat Thani Rajabhat University.
During the trip to Surat Thani, Cabinet members will make an inspection tour of the provinces in the Gulf of Thailand cluster, which, apart from Surat Thani, includes Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Phatthalung. Prime Minister Yingluck will visit the Sufficiency Economy Learning Center in Phunphin district, Surat Thani, on October 21, before traveling on board a special ferry to Samui Island on October 22 for the mobile Cabinet meeting.
Surat Thani is preparing to seek Cabinet approval for five major projects, namely the construction of a hospital, the establishment of a school, the development of the Sufficiency Economy Learning Center in Phunphin district, water management in Samui district, and a program in preparation for the ASEAN Community by Surat Thani Rajabhat University.
As for water management, Samui district plans to ask the Cabinet to approve a five-billion baht fund to ease water shortages during the dry season and tackle the flood problem during the rainy season. The fund will also be used to develop the road around Samui Island.
Set in the Gulf of Thailand and accessible by air from Bangkok, Samui Island is about 84 kilometers from the town of Surat Thani. It is the third-largest island in Thailand, after Phuket Island in the southern province of Phuket and Chang Island in the eastern province of Trat.
Like Phuket, Samui combines natural beauty with an exceptionally good standard of hotels, spas, and other tourism facilities. Because of its rich coconut groves, Samui is ranked as one of the largest coconut “plantations” in the world. Most Samui residents are engaged in coconut growing and tourism-related businesses. The coconut tree is regarded as a symbol of this enchanting island. Fruit grown in abundance on Samui Island include langsat, or lanzon, durian, rambutan, and mangosteen, which have become the island’s cash crops.
Samui district covers an area of 252 square kilometers and has a population of more than 53,700. As it welcomes about 3,000 foreign tourists each day, the tourism business in this province has grown rapidly.
A report prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment cites water shortages as a severe problem faced by Samui Island. Because of the growing number of visitors and the rapid development of the island itself, the environment there has been threatened. These problems need to be tackled urgently, as Samui is striving to develop itself into a quality and sustainable tourist destination.