THE Ministry of Finance has allocated Bt900 million for the upgrade of roads on Samui. Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and Deputy Finance Minister Pruttichai Damrongrat visited Koh Samui earlier this month [July] to observe the reconstruction work of a 70-kilometer ring road, which had started. Rapid development related to tourism has caused flooding and heavier vehicle use has damaged roads, so that existing infrastructure to serve tourism is insufficient. The earmarked funds will be allocated to finance the project until 2012, Mr. Korn said.
Korn said roads around Koh Samui had not been renovated for 27 years despite the rapid business and tourism growth on the island.
The Finance Ministry has also conducted a feasibility study on building an international conference center on a plot of land in Laem Mai Kaen cape, which belongs to the Treasury Department, an attached agency of the Finance Ministry. The land measures 37 rai (almost 6 hectares) and is worth Bt 440 million. The location, according to Korn, is ideal since it is near the Samui airport, the city center and a main road.
Koh Samui Tourism Association chairman Senee Puwasetthavorn said there were only a few hotels sufficient to accommodate 100-200 people to attend a seminar.
If the government develops a conference center with a capacity over 1,000 people, the island will attract big conferences and exhibitions, Mr. Senee said.