‘Normal’ Songkran expected for Phuket

Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Songkran celebrations in Phuket as well as 13 other Thai provinces are scheduled to take place as planned, despite the current state of emergency and cancellation of official celebrations in Bangkok.

Asia One News reports that China has cancelled 100 charter flights to Bangkok during the national Songkran holidays following the declaration of a state of emergency in the capital on Wednesday evening, the Thai-Chinese Tourism Promotion Association said.

The flights would have brought more than 15,000 Chinese to Thailand.

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Association president Wichit Prakobkosol said Thailand would lose 600 million baht as a result. He predicted that the previously expected number of tourists from other markets would also drop during this week-long holiday period. 

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumband Paribatra announced on Thursday that official Songkran celebrations were planned for Silom Road tomorrow, but those have now been cancelled.

Although the official public holidays of Songkran this year are April 13-15, many businesses in Phuket will either operate on skeleton staffs or shut down completely for the whole week, with major segments of the island’s labor force returning home to the North or Northeast of Thailand for traditional family visits. 

New tourism model for Phuket

Manila Bulletin
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to deviate from traditional mass tourism and adapt Phuket and the rest of Thailand to the evolving lifestyles and interests of travelers.

The Manila Bulletin reports that the TAT now aims to enable travelers to experience something different; seek places off the beaten track, connect to the environment and encounter something authentic. The term ‘experiential tourism’ applies here. This form of tourism shows and involves rather than describes.

Today, destination-based tourism has been outgrown by activity-based tourism. The activities involved have now become the selling point rather than location. It is the TAT’s belief that this new model will probably thrive in Phuket and other areas of Thailand where a wide range of activities are on offer.

Phuket regatta takes the prize

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, Asia’s largest keel boat regatta, has been named ‘Asian Regatta Of The Year’ at the inaugural Asia Marine & Boating Awards in Shanghai, China.

“The standard of nominated entries to the Asian Marine & Boating Awards was exceptionally high and all winners should be justly proud of their success,” said Alistair Skinner, who helped establish new awards on behalf of the China International Boat Show (CIBS) organizers.

“The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta continues to innovate and lead the way in regional sailing regattas,” he said.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, now in its 24th year, continues to expand its participant-base. More than 2,000 people from 33 nations took part in the 2009 event.

Hosted by the Kata Beach Resort, the Phuket Gazette, PGTV, and The Nation newspaper sponsor the annual event. 

Asean meeting consolidates ties

Asia News
ASEAN finance ministers have agreed that the Southeast Asian region will grow 4.9 to 5.6 per cent this year, from 1.5 per cent last year.

This prediction was reached earlier this week at the 14th annual meeting of ASEAN Finance Ministers in Vietnam.
The ministers agreed that ASEAN had emerged in good shape despite the unprecedented crisis in the global economy, reflecting the region’s continued dynamism.

The ministers expressed their determination to work together to enhance the competitiveness and depth of ASEAN financial markets. They committed to financial integration under the AEC Blueprint.

In order to enhance the region’s competitiveness in the global arena, work was underway to create brand recognition for ASEAN, build mutual and global trust in ASEAN standards, and facilitate inflows and access into other markets.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News
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