PHUKET: With its idyllic beaches and beautiful beachfront resorts, Phuket is not only a hub of tourist activity, but with Asean integration now a factor, it is also well on its way to becoming a key global economic player. One industry that has seen sustained growth in the past decade is wedding planning and luxury events management.
Here is a little insight into what adds to Phuket’s appeal as an ideal wedding destination.
Most industry players emphasize location as a key strategic advantage for the wedding and event planning business.
“Phuket is easily reachable with direct flights from many places around the world and our clients love the opportunity of a layover-free trip to their wedding destination,” explained Jess Tantapaiboon, director of communications at Wedding Bliss Thailand.
Chonlada Lafferty, director of The Bridal Planner Co Ltd, agreed that Phuket’s location is second to none, adding that the new airport will encourage tourists to choose Phuket over other destinations in Southeast Asia.
Price is a key factor as well, said Masawan Chavanavatch, sales and PR manager at Sala Phuket Resort and Spa, adding that the luxury pool-villa experience, with efficient services at affordable prices, is a great selling point for Phuket.
As any industry with growth potential is prone to do, wedding and event planning has drawn its fair share of competition as well.
“The competition is very strong,” said Ms Chonlada. “It is a big market, but you have to work hard to maintain your brand’s reputation.”
Jeanette Skelton, director of Luxury Events Phuket, agreed, adding that there is no room for complacency. She also noted that budgets are quite competitive as the industry has continued to grow, with few players exiting the market.
Growing competition in Phuket helps to keep businesses on their feet, but the growth of the industry worldwide provides opportunities for them to form global partnerships as well.
“The current trend is for new companies based around the world, mainly in Hong Kong, mainland China or Singapore, to try to arrange a destination weddings in Phuket for its couples. They seek partnerships with planners in Phuket and we gladly help with big high-end projects,” explained Ms Jess.
Another important factor for wedding planners and luxury event organizers is a well-
functioning support system.
“Phuket has 5-star wedding support services, from lighting to photography, chefs, flowers and videographers,” says Ms Skelton. Sightseeing opportunities in neighboring Krabi and Phi Phi also add to the appeal, she added.
A wide selection of decorators, planners and entertainers allows couples to find the style that suits them best; from exotic and tropical, to sophisticated and refined luxury, Ms Jess said.
Phuket’s mouth-watering cuisine, year-round warm weather and Thai hospitality are all added advantages.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was hailed by all as an important contributor to the industry’s future stability.
“With the many media channels that TAT has, it can be an amazing help in promoting what we do in Thailand for the wedding industry,” said Ms Jess.
However, security concerns remain a deterrent to industry growth, which is why local government should ensure that safety remains a priority, highlighted Ms Chonlada.
These are some of the factors contributing to Phuket’s rise as a hot favorite wedding destination for couples from all corners of the globe.
— Sahar Aftab Paliwala
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