Phuket Hotel Association to be the voice of island’s tourism industry

PHUKET: Speakers at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) forum yesterday proceeded to create a private enterprise council composed of leaders in the tourism industry in order to develop a single voice and brand identity for Phuket.

“[It] all starts with the initiation from us here… People will not listen to just one single person,” said Wichit Na-Ranong, owner and managing director of Indigo Pearl and one of the founding fathers of Phuket’s tourism industry.

The final outcome of the discussion at the forum entitled “Focus on the New Phuket” was to re-activate the Phuket Hotels Association.

“This industry is too big to go backward… If tourism doesn’t exist on this island, what else is it going to be?” asked Bill Barnett, managing director of leading consulting firm C9 Hotelworks and Phuket Gazette property columnist.

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“We want to give tourism one voice. There are other places that this has worked. The Bali Hotels Association gave a powerful voice for tourism.

“Bali went through tough times, two bombings, but whenever there was a crisis, there was one voice people could go to and ask: ‘What is happening with tourism?’.”

The new council will be designed to give a unified message to tourists who are also interested in what will happen next, what will Phuket be like when they arrive for their holiday.

Mr Barnett and others have already entered into conversations with Mr Wichit to establish an interface between the Phuket Hotels Association and the Thai Hotels Association, Mr Barnett told the crowd of nearly 200 people who joined the event.

Anthony Lark, vice president of business development for the Montara Hospitality Group and panelist at yesterday’s forum, backed the move to establish a unified voice and brand for Phuket.

“The urban-resort-mass-tourism market can co-exist with people who want to take out yachts, stay at private villas, eat at five-star restaurants and live a boutique lifestyle. Other places have done it… but it cannot be done without a representative body who looks at the interests of all of the stakeholders,” Mr Lark said as the forum came to a close.

What exactly will be the brand of Phuket as it steps into the ring with “Love NY”, “Pure New Zealand” and “Incredible India” to stake its claim to a cross-section of the international tourism market? That will be left up to the stakeholders as they work alongside the Phuket Hotel Association council members, and with the local government, to develop a Phuket brand that will last.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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