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Sporting events, meetings and Indian weddings spur Phuket tourism in 2018

Bill Barnett

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Sporting events, meetings and Indian weddings spur Phuket tourism in 2018 | The Thaiger

PHOTO: WeddingSutra.com

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

Phuket’s surging MICE market is now valued at 10.9 billion baht, as meetings, incentives and exhibitions attracted over 800,000 visitors to resort island in the last year. The islands increasingly prolific MICE market nearly doubled in year-on-year growth in 2017.  As revenue for the segment skyrocketed from 5.9 billion baht to a record-high 10.9 billion baht, the key metric that reflects the economic impact is the average spend of 13,000 baht per person.

Looking at the size of the market, a new report from consulting group C9 Hotelworks Phuket MICE Market Update reported that for the full year, the island hosted 660 events with close to 60,000 participants. With overseas demand becoming increasingly prolific throughout Thailand, the Top 3 international geographic source markets are Singapore, Mainland China and India.

Sporting events, meetings and Indian weddings spur Phuket tourism in 2018 | News by The Thaiger

Another key feeder of business is Indian weddings, which is attracting high-spending events from the subcontinent. Over the last month the island attracted two luxury weddings, with spending for each eclipsing 320 million baht. One key catalyst that is expected to see this market grow is the uptick is introduction of direct flights by GoAir between the resort destination and Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru.

One niche that Phuket has commanded a best in class reputation and sustainable upward trajectory is in large sports events. This year the Laguna Phuket Marathon attracted over 8,000 participants while garnering considerable international visitors. Other marquee events include the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and Thailand Yacht Show and Rendezvous.

Accessing the importance of the meeting and incentive segment to island tourism, Phuket has been successful in attracting high-yielding MICE business on substantially less volume than Thailand’s leading event destinations of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. The expansion of the gateway airport has added to the attractiveness by inducing broader demand.

Despite the absence of a convention center, recent notable additions include the new 1,000 seat Grand West Sands Resort and Splash Beach Resort venue which is being managed by Hong Kong’s Langham Hospitality Group. In the longer term, Central’s planned 10,000 square meter MICE facility in the heart of Phuket is expected to start development within two years, and will result in a coming of age for an already dynamic storyline of growth.”

Sporting events, meetings and Indian weddings spur Phuket tourism in 2018 | News by The Thaiger



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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

The Thaiger

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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Chinese foreign policy – On track

The Thaiger

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Chinese foreign policy – On track | The Thaiger

by Nikkei Asia Review

“When Japanese trading house Itochu and train maker Hitachi withdrew from a soon-to-be-decided $7 billion tender for a high-speed rail project near Bangkok, it appeared to be another victory for China and its grand plans to connect Southeast Asia with railways.

Thailand has for decades been the centerpiece of Tokyo’s strategy for Southeast Asia, and long-discussed plans to build extensive shinkansen-style rail lines in the country’s east and north were meant to cement the relationship between the two nations.

But while Japan’s ambitions have been stalled by disagreements about financing and other details, Beijing has managed to push ahead with construction of a separate high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. To some, the rail projects are a symbol of China’s growing influence in a country where Japan had spent decades building ties.”

The article predicts that the Chinese investment into South East Asian rail services is part of its broader ‘belt and road’ policy that is stretching out into new routes and connecting regions, and China, with hitherto remote parts of the asian continent.

“China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok, however. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.”

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

China’s reach southwards will allow it to exert greater political influence on places like Singapore which, for now, still retains strong connections to Washington. Investing in high-speed railways all the way from China’s borders to the tip of the Malay Peninsula is a lot more than just an economic investment, it’s a high-profile symbol of China’s new influence in the region where issues such as ‘Taiwan’ and it’s demands in the South China Sea have caused prickly negotiations with the ASEAN countries.

But to reach Singapore, China must first get Malaysia on side…

“A dramatic recent shift in Malaysian politics has put China’s plans for Singapore on hold, however. After his election in May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to hold up “for now” the $20 billion 688-km east coast rail line connecting southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, and postpone for two years a 350-km high-speed rail link between the Malaysian capital and Singapore.”

The article says that these ‘investments’ are actually just loans for high-priced infrastructure that often cannot be repaid by smaller economies….

“China typically provides loans, not grants, for foreign infrastructure projects, and takes possession of the project if the recipient is unable to repay its debt – as happened with a port in Sri Lanka. Such instances have prompted critics in the West to accuse China of practicing ‘debt diplomacy’.”

Read more of this fascinating and important article from Nikkei Asia Review HERE.

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites

The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites | The Thaiger

Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.

Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.

Read more about this story from News BTC HERE.

(Thaiger Bites provides these short snippets for stories we believe of interest to our readers)

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