French Ambassador visits Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin

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The French Ambassador, accompanied by key consular officials, met with officials in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin on Friday (June 21).

Jean-Claude Poimboeuf, the French Ambassador to Thailand, along with Carole Jose, the French Consul to Thailand, Stephane Rousseau, the Honorary Consul of the French Republic in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Lionel de Connick, Media Advisor, and Maneerat Bechier, Thai-French Interpreter, paid a courtesy visit to Somsak Jantarawira, the Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.

Jeeraprapa Saraprachuab, the Head of the Provincial Office of Prachuap Khiri Khan, also welcomed them to the meeting at Provincial Hall.

The purpose of this visit was to discuss topics of mutual interest between the French Republic and Prachuap Khiri Khan Province as follows:

Unique identity of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province: The Governor highlighted tourist attractions that blend international appeal with local characteristics, focusing on Hua Hin District as the central hub, connecting with the other seven districts. The discussion included eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and faith-based tourism (spiritual tourism). Prachuap Khiri Khan’s notable features span from the northernmost district, Hua Hin, to the southernmost district, Bang Saphan Noi, with beautiful nature on both sides: the Gulf of Thailand to the right and the Tenasserim Hills, extending over 220 kilometers, to the left.

International trade: The Governor presented the potential of Singkhon Special Border Checkpoint, the Thai border checkpoint adjacent to Myanmar. If fully operational, allowing normal cross-border travel, it could enhance tourism value between the two countries. The Andaman Sea lies on the Myanmar side (Myeik), while the Gulf of Thailand borders Prachuap Khiri Khan, offering complementary natural differences. However, the ongoing instability in Myanmar currently restricts normal cross-border movement.

Agriculture: Prachuap Khiri Khan is renowned as the capital of coconut (curry coconut) and pineapple, significant economic crops contributing to the province’s top income.

Local fisheries: The focus is on fresh seafood for local consumption within Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Promoting double-track railway tourism: The Governor mentioned that during Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s visit to Hua Hin Railway Station on June 14, 2024, Prachuap Khiri Khan would be a destination for the “SRT Royal Blossom” tourist train. This train is designed specifically for tourism, featuring wide windows for panoramic views, onboard recreational activities, and a café corner, enhancing the travel experience.

Additionally, Stephane Rousseau, the Honorary Consul of the French Republic in Prachuap Khiri Khan, revealed that approximately 800 French nationals are officially registered with the French Embassy across Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon provinces.

However, the actual number might be higher, as not all French nationals register with the Consulate or Embassy. Therefore, the French population in Prachuap Khiri Khan could range between 1,500 to 2,000, some residing year-round and others depending on visa durations.

Finally, the French Ambassador to Thailand requested the Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan to “please take care of the French citizens residing in the area.”

The delegation also met with Deputy Mayor Pailin Kongphan and other municipal officials in Hua Hin.

The visit on Friday (June 21) focused on addressing issues concerning the French community in Hua Hin. Discussions covered a range of topics including economic cooperation, cultural exchange, and basic education.

Both parties expressed a commitment to strengthening ties between the French residents and the local government.

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