PHUKET: On the first day of the mobile Cabinet meeting yesterday, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra held closed door talks with local tourism industry leaders who urged her to establish Phuket as a special economic zone.

The unscheduled talks, which were off-limits to reporters, saw PM Yingluck meet with Phuket Senator Thanyarat "Ghee" Achariyachai, who chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism, as well as fellow committee member Wichai Phraisa-ngop, a former Governor of Phuket.

Also meeting with Mrs Yingluck to discuss problems facing the tourism industry along the Andaman Coast were the president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter), the presidents of provincial tourism associations from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi, as well as the president of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce.