World Expo bid gears up
AYUTTHAYA, 1 August 2012: A preliminary land survey of the World Expo 2020 proposed site will get underway this October, the province’s governor, Wittaya Pewpong, said earlier this week.
He confirmed that a preliminary survey on a site in Bang Sai, would start in October with an initial budget of Bt5 million.
The most likely site is a 1,200 to 1,500-rai area of land close to the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre. However, the cost of acquiring enough land in the district to build a World Expo site has been estimated at around Bt240 billion and is likely rise even further if Ayutthaya wins the bid.
“I have ordered the district chief in Bang Sai to conduct a survey of people living in the area, along with a study of necessary land expropriations and compensation for those affected, as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Privy Council member and former Prime Minister, Tanin Kraivixien, said the event could bring huge opportunities not just for the province, but the entire country.
“I believe we still stand a chance of winning the bid, despite there being challenges from major competitors such as Brazil’s Sao Paolo, the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai, Russia’s Ekateringburg and Turkey’s Izmir.”
Mr Tanin also cited the good example set by London, which is currently hosting the Olympic Games. To host the event, the British government invested heavily in many projects, providing key support for construction, basic infrastructure and transportation systems over the past seven years.
“Apart from national campaigns, road shows and promotions to convince the Bureau of International Expositions’ members to support Thailand’s bid, infrastructure and city planning in the area will need to be improved.”
In addition, he suggested that the proposed World Expo site be expanded to 5,000 rai, if possible.
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau board member and acting president, Thongchai Sridama, said the bureau must focus on raising awareness and engaging local people to support the event.
The proposed theme is Balanced Life, Sustainable Living – Let’s Redefine Globalisation.
Thailand will present updates to the BIE two more times — in November 2012 and June 2013.
In January 2013, BIE will also visit Thailand to evaluate readiness to host the event before the final decision is announced in November 2013.
BIE has currently over 157 members’ countries. Thailand joined the BIE as an official member in 1993.
The World Expo is regarded as the third most significant global event in terms of its economic and cultural impact after Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup.
Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for 417 years from 1350 until 1767 when it was destroyed by an invading Burmese army. The ruins were designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site, 13 December 1991. Today, it is Bangkok’s most popular day-trip destination attracting thousands of tourists who travel on river boats and tour buses to the province daily.
Communications wise, Ayutthaya is just 75 km north of Bangkok near the main northern highway 32 and on the main rail line north that will be upgraded for high speed trains over the next 10 years.
The potential site Bang Sai is located 82 km north of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where at least three expansion projects will be undertaken by 2020, and just 42 km north of Don Mueang Airport. It lies adjacent to the river, about 5 km west of the 347 highway just north of where the 347 cuts across a major ring road linking highway 340 and highway 1 and 32.
TCEB believes the event could attract 37 million visitors to Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya receives more than 3.2 million tourist arrivals and gains Bt5.6 billion in tourism revenue per year. Of that, 60% are foreigners and 40% Thais.
There are around 3,100 rooms in the province.