PM denies getting cold feet on Expo 2020 bid
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied yesterday that her government had shelved Thailand's bid to host the World Expo 2020, saying more time was needed to analyse carefully the likely return on investment.
"Thailand will not give up its plan and open the way for Dubai," she said.
Dubai is another candidate in the competition.
She insisted the government was moving ahead with its campaign by assigning the Tourism Ministry to continue studying the project.
Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary-general to the prime minister, said the review was needed because of the huge cost, estimated at between Bt40 billion and Bt50 billion, to organise the event, not including the construction of infrastructure in Ayutthaya and transport links to the world heritage city.
Previously, the study showed the country would break even when 37 million people nationwide
visited the international fair and each paid a Bt1,000 admission fee.
Yingluck was also worried about how the country would benefit after the fair ended
and it had spent so much, Suranand said.
The decision to enter the running was made before the flood struck in 2011. The objective at the time was to restore foreign confidence, but now the situation has changed.
"Whether Thailand has given up its status for the bidding, I don't want to say. But we have to study seriously the worthiness of our investment. It takes more time to do so because the choice of qualified candidate will be announced this November. However, when the study is finished, we'll have to discuss it again to make our decision clear,'' he said.