By Pathomporn Kaenkrachang – www.phuketwan.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011
PHUKET’S 2014 Asia Beach Games have been boosted by a budget that has doubled to 900 million baht. But questions are being asked about whether 5000 athletes and an estimated 100,000 visitors could be forced to use tuk-tuks or taxis.

The size of the budget – rising from an original 430 million baht – was revealed yesterday at a meeting in Bangkok.

Sport and Tourism Minster Chumpol Silapa-archa said that Cabinet would contribute 600 million baht while Tourism and Sport will provide the rest. Spending will be controlled from Bangkok.

Bodybuilding has been added to make for a total of 17 events that will all be held at Patong and Karon. The expectation is that 5000 athletes and 100,000 visitors from 45 countries will be on Phuket between November 14-21 in 2014.

But concerns have been expressed about tourism rip-offs and the lack of cheap adequate public transport, said Vice Governor Niwit Aroonrat. He said the introduction of a light rail service could be accelerated for the games.

Ticket prices have yet to be determined. The Olympic Council of Asia examined the venues earlier this month and ruled Phuket fit to run the events.

Phuket’s history of holding regattas, triathlons, marathons and world-class beach volleyball helped.

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