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Phuket Music Festival returns

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Phuket Music Festival returns | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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PHUKET: The Phuket Music Festival will take place next weekend, June 25-26, the Bangkok Post reminds us.

Hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Provincial Government of Phuket in conjunction with the brewers of Singha Beer, the festival aims to promote tourism to Phuket.

This free concert, held for the second consecutive year (but last year titled ‘RoyFest’), is expected to draw 50,000 local and international visitors to the island with two evenings of dance music performed by international artists and DJs.

It will be in the concept of a ‘Beach Dance Party’, and will feature a throng of local artists.

“The Phuket Music Festival is the biggest and most comprehensive free concert on the seaside in the South of Thailand, and one of the most unique concerts ever held….’ said TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

‘Besides the natural environment of ‘The Pearl of the Andaman’, the island now has a music festival that will create a legend by transforming the white sandy beach into Thailand’s largest, moonlit dance floor for everyone to enjoy,” he added.

But if reports from last year’s inaugural music festival were accurate, local residents of Karon Beach and surrounding areas, particularly those in the posh condos and five-star hotel rooms along the strand, found the music a bit over the top in terms of volume and duration.

While the event did draw large crowds, its desirability for environmentally-challenged Phuket became a topic of some considerable heat in the ‘debates’ in the Gazette online forum, with perceived beauty being very much in the ears of the beholder.

Westin Phuket ready to roll

Asia Travel Tips
Phuket’s new Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa is offering rooms for just 2,010 baht (approx $59) per night in the lead-up to the luxury property’s opening, which is scheduled for August 2010.

The promotion is valid for bookings before September 30 and for stays between August 1 and October 31, 2010. The introductory rate is ‘room only’ and is subject to tax and service charges.

The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa will be the first Westin resort to open in Thailand. Located on Phuket’s Siray Island, the resort overlooks Siray Bay and boasts a secluded beach with direct access.

Despite woes, Thailand still a major magnet

Travel Daily News
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that Thailand received 6,563,099 visitor arrivals during January-May 2010, registering year-on-year growth of 16.07 per cent.

Tourism receipts were estimated at 240 billion baht, or about US$7.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 20.26% in comparison with January-May 2009.

The top five visitor-generating markets during the period were Malaysia (770,804), China (428,709), Japan (419,980), United Kingdom (352,586), and South Korea (335,648).

These markets are Thailand’s traditional top tourist producers, but other markets such as India (277,393) and Russia (284,424) showed phenomenal growth during the same period.

Although the TAT has not provided a breakdown by province of where the 6,563,099 tourists stayed during their visits, Phuket is likely to have played a major role as the province remained calm throughout the Bangkok riots, and the island’s airport arrival statistics were far more favorable than those for the capital.

Proximity and value for money will still be the main attractions for tourists from South Asia, the Middle East and the ASEAN countries, the TAT says.

Phuket touted in TAT tours
TR Weekly
Tourism Authority of Thailand is marketing self-drive holidays in the domestic tourism space, offering airline, hotel and car rental components in prepaid packages that focus on eight provinces, including Phuket.

The four other “main destinations” are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Udon Thani and Krabi – all introduced during last year’s low season. Phitsanulok, Ubon Ratchathani and Surat Thani have been added this year.

The TAT believes it can spread tourism benefits through self-drive holidays that combine a flight to a regional center and accommodation on a circular route from the car rental point.

It says the main purpose is to promote what it calls “green season” tourism, a euphemism for the five-month low (rainy) season. However, critics retort that the exercise is commercial and is in direct competition against private travel companies in the domestic market.

Self-drive package bookings are available from now until September 15, and the traveling period expires on September 30.

The packages are not available during the brown season.

Briton, Aussie face jail

The State
A Briton and an Australian who joined in Thailand’s anti-government protests last month were charged on Thursday with inciting violence and other crimes. They could face up to two years in prison.

Both men denied the charges, which allege they violated an emergency decree imposed during the two-months of protests.

Briton Jeff Savage, 48, screamed abusive comments about Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as he was led past reporters, calling him “a murderer” and insulting Abhisit’s wife.

Australian Conor Purcell, 30, is accused of inciting violence by making incendiary speeches on the main stage at the protesters’ encampment.

The court set the next hearing for July 28.

— Gazette Editors

 

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