PHUKET – Gulu Lalvani, owner of Royal Phuket Marina, turned the Thai Government delay of the building of their convention project and decided to move it forward. He invested over 1 billion baht to drive the completion of the convention center and chose INFORMA to manage it. He is confident that RPM Convention will be able to open this coming December. He also said that he will expand to Phase 2 with an additional 1.5 billion baht investment if the Phase I shows positive performance within a 12-month term, as he believes that the number of flights to Phuket, which will continuously increase, will benefit the convention business.
At the Royal Phuket Marina’s press conference held on August 5, Mr. Gulu Lalvani, owner of Royal Phuket Marina, the world-class luxury marina mobile phone tycoon (owner of Binatone), together with Mr. Will Morrris, CEO of Informa Yatch Group, announced the development of a convention center under the official name of Royal Phuket Marina Exhibition and Conference Center.
Mr. Gulu Lalvani shared his objective of developing this convention center, which over the past 10 years he has heard of the government’s international convention center project to be built in Phuket, but so far it hasn’t happened. He also believes that it would take at least 5 years from now if the government finally decided to build the international convention center today.
With the availability of the great location in Royal Phuket Marina, Mr. Gulu Lalvani then decided to move the project forward by self investing in order to build the convention center here. He chose the professional operator “Informa” to manage the convention center. Informa is the world’s expert in convention center operating.
Royal Phuket Marina Exhibition and Conference Center will cover 2,500 sqm and is 3 times larger than any existing premises in Phuket. The investment for the project is about 1 billion baht and will be opened by this coming December, starting with PIMEX (Phuket International Marine Expo) as the first event.
Mr. Gulu Lalvani further said he will invest an additional 1.5 billion to expand another 7,000 sqm for Phase 2 of the exhibition and conference center if the performance of Phase 1 shows a positive result within the first 12 months. He added that the government’s international convention center to be built in Phuket will further strengthen the MICE market, as well as the tourism business of Phuket. He is confident that the number of tourists will increase by 20% next year due to the high growth of inbound flights to Phuket.
Mr. Will Morris explained the convention center’s target group, besides the local target, “We also aim on the regional and international targets including Asians and Europeans. The convention center will be capable of housing 200 booths both inside the building, as well as the outdoor space. The center will be able to accommodate 2-3 events at the same time. The target events will include international exhibitions, boatshows, motorshows and meeting conferences.”
Mr. Will Morris said Informa has many years of experience in operating international exhibitions and conferences, for example in Dubai and Europe. With his strong confidence in the Phuket market and Royal Phuket Marina, he decided on the joint venture when he was approached by Mr. Gulu Lalvani.
Royal Phuket Marina’s project size is 190 Rais, including the world-class marina, 400 luxury residential villas, penthouses and condominiums. Besides the convention center, the total investment of Royal Phuket Marin is 6 billion baht. The project started its operation in late 2004.