The Beach Group is launching the ‘Karon Wellness Sandbox’ with a budget of THB 1.2 billion, following their previous project ‘The Beach Plaza Kata Phuket’, and is aiming to build a health community model in Phuket, which is a part of the pilot project for ‘Andaman Wellness Corridor: AWC’.
The CEO of The Beach Group, Karn Prachumpan, said that The Beach Plaza Kata Phuket is a mix-used project covering over 15 rai of land on Kata Beach.
The first phase saw a lot of progress and is ready to be operated within 2023, gathering four hotels with 681 rooms, including a sports club, surf skating facilities, and a wellness center or a holistic clinic for preventive medicine, which include Chinese and Thai traditional medicine as well as alternative medicine under the concept of green mobility.
For the second phase, there is a plan to develop five more wellness hotels with 764 rooms, which are expected to be finished within 2023. The hotels will be built as ‘instant hotel’ which received a good response from the market, making it become a new model for the industry. The concept is to develop a complete hotel for investors. The second phase has an investment value of THB 6 billion.
The third phase is expected to be finished within 2024 and it will be the development of the parking space for mixed-use, convention and exhibition center as well as a digital park museum, which will be a digital theme park. The project will use local culture as the core that is developed and presented in digital age, the same way Singapore developed Sentosa. The project will connect with the local community with the signature as The Big Buddha on Narkkerd Mountain in Karon.
Mr. Karn also mentioned that he took part to establish the Phuket City Development (PKCD), a community enterprise, and the role allows him to work together with the government, academicians as well as the society, which helps expanding the idea to develop the city and elevate ‘The Beach Plaza Kata Phuket’ to the city development project. This development follows the Phuket island development strategy that aims to push Phuket as a wellness tourism city, connecting other tourism cities in the Andaman region together as the Andaman Wellness Corridor: AWC.
The above-mentioned projects have sparked the development of a fourth phase together with local government sectors to revitalize the canal that floats into Kata Beach. The goal is to improve the quality of the canal and the landscape along the canal for public use. This project is developed the same way as Cheonggyecheon Stream in South Korea.
The fifth phase is the development of the route to Big Buddha with two-kilometer distance which is called the ‘Dragon Route’. Following the survey from Kata Beach to the entrance of the Big Buddha, the lands are either land with title deeds or degraded forest. None of them are in the area of preserved forest or Agricultural Land Reform. The route can be developed with a cable car line transferring travelers up to the Big Buddha. The project can possibly become a Public–Private partnership (PPP). The fourth and fifth phase will require THB 5 billion more of investment.
“At the opening of Andaman Wellness Center at Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation under the Program Management Unit on Area Based Development together with the Department of Health Service Support, Public Health Ministry sponsor a budget for a training for hotels executives in Phuket, Andaman area and Gulf of Thailand area from a total number of 120 avenues to get ready to take part in the wellness hotel network.”
Lately, the cabinet has just approved Phuket to organize the Specialised Expo 2028 Phuket so The Beach Plaza Kata Phuket has been presented to take part as one of the pilot projects ‘Karon Wellness Sandbox’ Andaman tourism will be elevated by wellness perspective and the opportunity to be the host for Specialised Expo 2028 Phuket which will attract people from across the globe and many local projects must be prepared for the upcoming event including the cable car bringing a large number of tourists to the Big Buddha.
“After the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has changed and Phuket has to quickly adapt with the change. The old style of tourism we used to do no longer works so we need to switch our focus on wellness tourism. Travel in Phuket and get healthy, feel the faith and get wisdom. This will be our new tool that drives Phuket to the world destination in the new era starting from Karon. If Karon makes it through, Phuket will make it too and if Phuket make it, Thailand will also do,” Mr. Karn added.
According to the AWC, Khlong Thom [in Krabi] will be the natural salt water fountain while Khao Lak [in Phang Nga] will be the Surf Town and Karon [in Phuket] will be the center of Wellness Tourism.