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Chinese New Year to usher in billion-baht boost for Phuket

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PHUKET: Phuket is gearing up to welcome the Chinese New Year and up to one billion baht in revenue as tourists flock to the island for the holiday, says the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA).

PTA vice president Bhurit Maswongsa told the Phuket Gazette yesterday that the January booking rate for Phuket hotels is about 90% and may rise to 100% in February as Asian tourists – especially from mainland China – come to Phuket to celebrate Chinese New Year.

However, Mr Bhurit noted that the average daily amount spent by each tourist is expected to be about 3,600 baht, down from about 4,200 baht last year.

“Though rooms in town and near the beach are now almost fully booked during the Chinese New Year, I expect the overall revenue will be about one billion baht – lower than it should be – because we forecast that tourists will spend less than they did last year,” he said.

The focal point for celebrations will be Phuket Old Town, where Phuket City Municipality and the Phuket TAT will host the 12th Phuket Old Town Festival in association with the Phuket Peranakan Association, The Phuket Old Town Community and the Old Phuket Foundation.

The festival will take place on the streets of Old Phuket Town and Queen Sirikit Park from February 8 to 10 and will feature day and night activities.

From 7pm to 10pm daily, performers from Suining City, China, will entertain visitors on the “walking streets” of Thalang and Phang Nga roads along with local food and products, “walking performances”, exhibitions, local games and much more.

An image of the Chinese goddess Guan Yin will be temporarily enshrined in Queen Sirikit Park during the festival. Also enshrined will be items representing the goddess provided by Guangde Temple in Suining City, Sechuan Province – Guan Yin’s hometown.

Local people will be able to pay homage to the image and offer items to welcome good luck for the coming year.

Other activities to pay respect to the Chinese goddess will be in the form of a “pilgrim tour” on a local bus (songtaew). From 9am to 5pm daily during the festival, a 99-baht tour will take pilgrims to nine famous shrines in Phuket Town to pay respect to Guan Yin. Those wishing to take part in the tour can contact the Phuket TAT at 076-212213.

Also taking place is a photograph competition with the theme “Phuket Old Town Life Style”. The contest is open to Thais only with a Royal trophy and 50,000 baht as the grand prize. To submit photos, contact Phuket Alpha Engineering Co Ltd on 076-215796 or visit their website at phuketalpha.com.

Photos are being accepted from now until February 5. Selected photos will be exhibited on Phang Nga Road during the festival.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

 

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