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Laguna Tri-Fest draws Chinese numbers

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PHUKET: Rising Chinese numbers at the Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest bodes well for years ahead, as the classic Phuket event looks to generate more than 90 million baht this year.

“In the past two years, we’ve seen more than 50 per cent growth [in the number] of athletes from China, both at the Laguna Phuket International Marathon in June and now the Tri-Fest. Last year, we had a combined total of 33 athletes from China for the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and Challenge Laguna Phuket. This year, we already have around 50 Chinese athletes registered for the Tri-Fest, and expect to see that number grow to at least the point that it doubles the number of athletes from China last year,” says Prapa Hemmin, Laguna Phuket director of sales-MICE and corporate events.

The noticeable growth of the Chinese market coincides with Dalian Wanda, owned by Wang Jianlin, a property and entertainment industry tycoon, signing for 100 per cent of the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC).

Mr Wang said the WTC deal represented a further transition away from being “a traditional property company”, reported The Financial Times. It is the third major investment in the sports industry Mr Wang has made following Infront Sports & Media and football club Atletico Madrid.

Despite the increase in Chinese interest in the Tri-Fest, other countries in the Asia Pacific region remains the main source of participants, with the top ten countries of origin including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Australia. From Europe, the United Kingdom provides the highest number of participants, followed by Switzerland, Germany and Spain.

The iconic, multi-sports week-long event ‘Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest’ starts on November 22 with the 22nd Laguna Phuket Triathlon and will culminate on November 29 with the 3rd Challenge Laguna Phuket.

The destination’s signature distance of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, comprising a 1.8km swim, 55km bike, and 12km run, and the Challenge Laguna Phuket featuring a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run, is attracting entries from leading international professional athletes as well as age groupers worldwide.

To date, more than 1,300 athletes have signed up for the two main races. An estimated 1,500 athletes are expected to join the race this year.

“The enduring appeal of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and the unique challenges of Challenge Laguna Phuket continue to draw endurance sports enthusiasts to Phuket each year,” says Ms Prapa.

“With thousands of athletes, each with three to five followers, family members, friends, partners, media, sponsors and/or supporters travelling together to Phuket from around the world and spending four to five nights during the week-long Tri-Fest, the event is projected to generate over 90 million baht in spending in the tourism segment on the island.”

For more information and race registration, please visit www.challengelagunaphuket.com

 

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