Thailand wants to build a 459-meter-high landmark because it doesn’t have enough tourists yet


dpa

BANGKOK — The Thai capital is the world’s most-visited city, welcoming 21.47 million tourists in 2016 alone. But it wants more.

Thailand is planning construction of a 459-meter-high observation tower as the country’s new landmark and tallest building, a government spokesman told dpa on Wednesday.

The Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved the construction of a tower estimated to cost 4.6 billion baht (US$135 million), but the timeline of the construction has not yet been determined, said government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

“This will be Thailand’s new tourism landmark” Sansern said, adding it will be “without a commercial purpose.”

“There will be no shops and the profits made from entry fee will be donated to charity,” he added.

The towering structure, to be built near the bank of the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the capital, will mainly feature galleries showcasing social development projects initiated by the late king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October, and other things about Thailand.

The entry fee will be 750 baht (US$22) for non-Thai visitors. The fee will be halved for Thai citizens, Sansern said.

Funding will be raised from private financial institutions and businesses and will not involve government budgets, he added.

The cabinet on Tuesday resolved to bypass the bidding process to avoid possible delays. Any construction companies interested in taking up the project must present a thorough plan that would prevent traffic problems during the construction, as well as a statement on environmental impact, the spokesman said.

When completed, the tower will surpass MahaNakhon, Thailand’s currently tallest building, at 314 meters. It will also be South-East Asia’s second-tallest building, after Malaysia’s Petronas Towers.