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Opinion: Beach Games to showcase new Phuket



PHUKET: There has been a great deal of discussion and debate recently about how Phuket should “rebrand” itself as a world-class tourist destination in the wake of the National Council for Peace and Order’s unprecedented anti-corruption drive.

Hopefully, the 4th Asian Beach Games next month will serve as the perfect showcase for the so-called “new” Phuket, spreading the message far and wide that the island is a better destination than ever – now that it is largely unfettered of the systemic corruption that until recently pervaded so much of the tourism industry here.

Coinciding almost perfectly with the traditional start of Phuket’s tourism high season, the Beach Games could not be coming at a better time. Hopefully the weather gods will cooperate, easing off on the monsoon just in time to bring in clear blue skies and show the world just how alluring our recently reclaimed beaches and lush tropical landscapes can be – just as a cold, dark winter rapidly descends on most of the Northern hemisphere.

For island residents with free time, the games will offer a wide variety of interesting competitions to watch live – all free of charge and, in most cases, with front-row seating. Island residents will get the chance to learn more about little-known disciplines like woodball and kabaddi, as performed by world-class competitors playing for all the marbles. At the other end of the spectrum, we will be given a chance to see some of the region’s top athletes perform in highly-competitive marquee events such as beach volleyball and bodybuilding.

While the Beach Games are perfect for Phuket, so is the island almost perfectly suited to host them.
Phuket boasts what is probably the best tourism infrastructure of any resort destination in Asia: scores of excellent beaches; a major international airport, as well as a private airfield; hundreds of accommodation establishments capable of meeting the needs visitors of about every income level; unparalleled nightlife – and the list goes on.

Additionally, Phuket also has a large and highly diversified expatriate community that includes thousands of people from across Asia who will no doubt be inspired to cheer on the their fellow countrymen – an essential ingredient to the success of any international sporting competition.

The Gazette is proud to work together with event organizers, the Olympic Council of Asia and the Sports Authority of Thailand under an exclusive Media Partnership Agreement to bring our readers the most comprehensive and entertaining coverage possible for this major event (story here).

We hope our readers will join us in catching the spirit of the games, turning out to cheer on competitors and encouraging friends to visit Phuket and enjoy the competitions as well.


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