APEC SME Meeting in Phuket Hailed as Great Opportunity

PHUKET: Weerapong Malai, Director-General of the Office for the Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (OSMEP), returned to Phuket yesterday (Aug. 16) to promote the upcoming 28th Apec Ministerial Meeting for SMEs, which will be held on Sept. 5 at the resort SAii Laguna Phuket will take place. 10

Mr. Weerapong was last in Phuket on August 3 to highlight the upcoming meeting and to coordinate official preparations to host the meeting.

Speaking yesterday at the On On Hotel in Phuket Town and alongside Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Mr Weerapong again highlighted how Phuket, as host of the meeting, would showcase Phuket’s attractions as a tourism destination for the ministerial delegates and their media entourage.

He also reiterated that Phuket, as the host of the APEC SME meeting, would highlight the Thai government’s intention to follow a “Sustainable Development Economic Model (BCG Model)” that “aims to establish cooperation with 21 leading economic zones in Asia -Build the Pacific Rim”.

“We hope to increase capacity to expand opportunities for SMEs to enter the global supply chain and prepare for new challenges that will take place in Next Normal with Soft Power of Phuket, showing the potential of Thailand’s willingness to Accepting tourists, trade and investment will help add value to the Thai economy in the near future,” Mr Weerapong said.

Mr Weerapong reiterated that as a tourism hub, Phuket is “a destination for tourists around the world that is the second largest in terms of tourism revenue after Bangkok”.

According to Mr. Weerapong, Phuket has already developed service innovations of international standard, including being a “MICE CITY”.

“Phuket also has development policies aimed at creating soft power in various areas to reduce dependency on mainstream tourism, thereby addressing vulnerabilities exposed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added .

“The fact that Phuket was chosen as the venue for this APEC SME gathering is a great opportunity, as representatives of the Thai Economic Zone, to show our potential and willingness to open our home to welcome delegates from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Zones to be called delegates for trade, investment and tourism,” he said.

“At the same time, SME entrepreneurs in Phuket, numbering 42,598 and employing more than 224,905 workers, have also demonstrated their potential and willingness and can provide opportunities for business people in Phuket and surrounding areas to gain international recognition. This will be a mechanism to create an economy for the area in the future,” he added.

Mr. Weerapong pointed out that delegates will come from 21 nations, which together generate more than half of the world’s GDP.

“The organization of this meeting is therefore important to promote Thai SMEs with the aim of creating a stake in defining attitudes that safeguard the interests of Thais and SMEs in the arena of multilateral cooperation. It will also connect Thai SMEs with business partners in Asia-Pacific, increasing our competitiveness and commercial opportunity and allowing Thai SMEs to enter the global supply chain,” Weerapong said.

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