The nation that has been selected to host the Specialised Expo 2028 will soon be announced, with the declaration being made public on June 21st.
With Phuket as a nominee, Thailand eagerly anticipates the outcome as it stands among the top five finalists vying for this globally recognized event.
The race to secure the privilege of hosting the Specialised Expo 2028, regulated by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) – the organization that manages World Expos, has seen fierce competition.
Nations from across the globe are seeking this opportunity to exhibit their knowledge, innovative advancements, cultural heritage, and economic strength on an international platform.
Phuket finds itself among the final five cities in a neck-to-neck competition, each aiming to secure the hosting rights for the 2028 expo, slated to be held from March 21 to June 20, 2028.
The other contenders are Minnesota from the United States, Belgrade from Serbia, Malaga from Spain, and Bariloche from Argentina.
Potential Prime Minister Pita Limjaroenrat’s support for Phuket’s expo bid has bolstered international trust in Thailand’s commitment to the event, regardless of political changes.
Should Thailand be the successful bidder, it would signify a significant historical milestone, not only for the nation but for both Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.
Being the first country in this region to host a Specialised Expo, Thailand would gain a unique platform to highlight its rich cultural tapestry, advanced technology, and initiatives towards sustainable development.
Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), remarked that the idea for Thailand’s expo bid originated from the people of Phuket.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Phuket had plans to create a 1.4-billion-baht Medical Plaza under the state-operated Vachira Phuket Hospital, intended to be a comprehensive health and wellness centre.
This project is located on a 141-rai land parcel in tambon Mai Khao, in the Thalang district.
Upon discussing the project with both state and private entities, a consensus was reached that it could be expanded to offer additional benefits to the province.
This led to the proposal of hosting the Specialised Expo to the TCEB. After evaluating the proposal, the TCEB forwarded it to the cabinet.
In November 2021, the cabinet gave the green light for the province’s bid to host the event.
Following cabinet approval, the Transport Ministry approved an investment plan of around 80 billion baht to improve the island’s mass transport infrastructure.
This plan integrates air, land, and sea transport for the event and includes a 42-km electric train and an EV-Bus Rapid Transit project.
The government has allocated 4.18 billion baht for hosting the Specialised Expo 2028, if Thailand is chosen. Additionally, 1.4 billion baht has been granted to the Vachira Phuket Hospital for a health and wellness center.
Phuket proposes the expo theme “Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity,” focusing on health, wellness, and superior hospitality services in Phuket.
The other four contenders have suggested the following themes: Minnesota with “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well-Being For All.”
Belgrade proposes “Play for Humanity: Sport and Music for All.” Malaga suggests “The Urban Era: Towards the Sustainable City,” and Bariloche presents “Nature + Technology = Sustainable Energy, Available Future for Humanity.”
Mr. Chiruit stated that Thailand’s victory would benefit the whole nation, boosting its profile and attracting more significant events to various regions.
Moreover, the expo would be an integral component of Thailand’s strategy to promote health, wellness, and medical tourism in Southeast Asia.
The expo anticipates an economic value of up to 50 billion baht, 5 million visitors, 113,439 jobs in Phuket, and a boost in tourism in neighboring provinces.
On June 21st, BIE member nations will vote for the host and a two-thirds majority is needed to win. The voting rounds will continue until a final winner emerges, eliminating the country with the fewest votes each time.
As the announcement approaches, Thailand’s bid team is hopeful, their strategic location, vibrant culture, and commitment to sustainability positioning them as a strong expo contender.
This event could ignite collaboration, knowledge exchange, and cross-cultural dialogue.