Former PM Tanin backs Ayutthaya's bid for World Expo
Former prime minister Tanin Kraivixien has urged the government to support Thailand's bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Ayutthaya, saying the event could bring huge opportunities not just to the province, but to the country."I believe we still stand a chance of clinching the bid, despite there being challenges from major competitors, namely Brazil's Sao Paolo, the United Arab Emirates' Dubai, Russia's Yekaterinburg and Turkey's Izmir," Tanin said yesterday. The Privy Council member and former premier spoke at a monthly meeting of government officials in Ayutthaya province.
Tanin made the comments after the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) took the opportunity presented by the meeting to update officials on the progress made over the past six months to submit a bid to host the Expo to the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).
He 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.
Thus, apart from national campaigns, road shows and promotions to convince BIE members to support Thailand's bid, infrastructure and city planning in the area to be used for the event site must be well organised, Tanin added.
The former leader also suggested that the proposed World Expo site be expanded from 1,260 rai (202 hectares) to twice that size, or even to 5,000 rai (800 hectares), if possible, for use in future developments after the event is complete.
Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Pewpong said all sectors in his province fully support this bid. The province will join forces with the Interior Ministry's Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning to develop the site in Bangsai, under a provincial budget of Bt5 million, in October.
Witthaya has ordered the district chief in Bangsai 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.
TCEB acting president Thongchai Sridama said the bureau must focus on raising awareness and engagement among local people, as well as strengthening the theme of the event to be presented to the BIE. The TCEB has come up with an overall concept of "Redefine Globalisation: Balanced Life, Sustainable Living". The bureau expects to welcome 37 million visitors during the event, should the bid be successful.
Thongchai added that the TCEB had to complete the details of the World Expo 2020 bid by October. A BIE committee will announce the winner in November 2013.