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Phuket

Phuket Sports: Reaching the ultimate goal [Video]

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: Reaching the ultimate goal [Video] | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The ancient martial art of Muay Thai is alive and strong, especially in Phuket, where fighters from around the world make their way to train with some of the best. The Phuket Gazette and PGTV were able to get the scoop on what’s new in the island’s fighting scene during a recent visit to Tiger Muay Thai gym.

Located on Soi Ta Led in Chalong, the Tiger name has become somewhat synonymous with Muay Thai and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting. Tiger- sponsored fighters Mairbek Taisumov, 25, and Zubair Tukhugov, 22, are now bringing the Tiger name to another level with their accomplishments on the world famous Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) circuit.

Chechnyans Taisumov and Tukhugov have been training in MMA for over a year under Tiger coach Roger Huerta.

“I used to fight for the UFC. My background first came from wrestling, then jujitsu and then Muay Thai. Then I put that all together,” says Huerta. Huerta’s four years of experience on the UFC circuit taught him what it takes to be a winning fighter – lessons which he now passes on to his protégés.

“Mairbek used to fight for M1 Global and Zu [Zubair] was fighting for Fight Nights, which are pretty big in Russia,” says Huerta. M1 Global is based out of the Netherlands and Fight Nights in Russia – both are large fight promoters similar to the UFC.

“I had the time to go somewhere to train and I just took my bag and came to Thailand and met this guy [Huerta],” recalls Taisumov. Since then Taisumov has been making Huerta proud, sporting 21 wins and just four losses on the UFC circuit, including his recent win at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Tukhugov is looking to chalk up another victory to his 15 win and three loss record with an upcoming UFC fight in Brazil next month.

UFC’s new stars training at Phuket’s Tiger Muay Thai. Video: PGTV

“UFC is based out of Las Vegas but they bounce around the whole world – Zubair will be fighting next month in Brazil, then the next show will be in Macau and they [UFC] are going to do seven shows in Asia over the next year. They are constantly opening new markets. They went to Europe already and now they are coming to Asia,” says Will Elliot, director at Tiger Muay Thai.

“The UFC is basically the Mecca of MMA. That’s where you’re going to fight the best fighters in the world… these guys want to be the best fighters in the world, fight the best fighters in the world,”
declares Huerta.

To fight with the best, Taisumov and Tukhugov subject themselves to a ruthless training regimen under Huerta’s guidance. No alcohol or partying, training morning, day and night with a slew of weights, strength conditioning and flexibility exercises are part of the lifestyle they commit to in order to stay at the top of their game.

Huerta’s guys usually get a week off after a fight for some much needed rest and healing time but sometimes the rush of the win leaves them wanting more. “We won by a unanimous decision, beat a really tough Korean and he [Taisumov] is ready to rock and roll again – he’s ready to fight again already,” says Huerta.

— Jeremie Schatz

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Phuket

New branding for the old town – tweaking Phuket’s Old Town

The Thaiger & The Nation

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New branding for the old town – tweaking Phuket’s Old Town | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Many renovated buildings and putting the crappy overhead cabling underground  is bringing the old town alive

Though Phuket remains among the world’s most popular tourist destinations, injecting some 477 billion baht to the Thai economy, with its “Pearl of the Andaman Sea” branding, its future status is being questioned due to competition from Indonesia and Vietnam.

In response, Phuket is making a move to focus on the city’s “Old Town” to attract more tourists, along with an “Endless Discovery” branding campaign to highlight the variety of local tourist options.

Don Limnantapisit, the president of the Phuket Old Town community, says most tourists have visited just about everywhere in Phuket but often bypass the Old Town.

Though the Old Town area has for 15 years encouraged tourist visits so that it wouldn’t disappear from Phuket’s map, only in the past two years has it seen much success in attracting tourists – thanks to the power of social media.

As well, CNN recently included Old Town on its list of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns (it’s also in The Thaiger’s list of Asia’s Top 10 Prettiest towns).

Thailand’s Fine Arts Department and Phuket are working on a plan to register Old Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The new “Phuket Endless Discovery” branding aims to tease the curiosity of travellers, said the president of the Phuket Tourism Association, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam

Statistics show a significant growth in travellers for meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE)  in Phuket. The figure for 2018 showed an increase to 2,216,230, up 168% from 2017, bringing in 19.5 billion baht.

SOURCE: The Nation – Pornpilin Julapan

New branding for the old town - tweaking Phuket's Old Town | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: phuketoldtownhostel.com

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Events

And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’

The Thaiger

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And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The Phuket mascot has officially been announced and the winning mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ – a baby lobster created by Jin Sataponsathitsuk, who received 100,000 for his efforts.

The baby lobster mascot represents a naughty kid who loves eating, exploring, and loves learning new things. His goal is to discover Phuket through fun activities, delicious food and great experiences. His best friend, Umi, a baby sea urchin, keeps calling him Joong, instead of Goong (that means prawn in Thai).

The mascots are expected to be the representative and symbol for Phuket tourism and will welcome tourists from all around the world. The organisers laid out the concept of the mascot, saying that it had to be “outstanding, beautiful, charming, impressive and approachable”.

The event was organised by the BIC Event Group. Earlier when the contest opened, there were more than 200 pieces of art submitted from many provinces across Thailand.

Phuket’s Governor chaired the award ceremony and handed out the prizes to the winners. Apart from first prize winner, Nong Joong, the second prize went to ‘Nong Ang Lai’ created by Panatratha Sae-Eung – a 12 year old girl who has pineapple head. The pineapple represent the ‘lucky fruit’ and also Phuket signature fruit. Nong Ang Lai is a playful and friendly character and wears a Chinese red dress, considered a lucky colour in Chinese culture.

The second place winner received a 20,000 baht prize, who also won the popular vote prize by Phuket Tourism Association.

The winner of the competition received a Bangkok Airways round trip ticket for Bangkok – Phuket and 3 nights complimentary stay at Baba House Phuket. The third place winner was ‘Andaman Boy’ created by Thani Muannut, who received a 10,000 baht prize.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger And the new Phuket mascot is ‘Nong Joong’ | News by The Thaiger

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Business

“Phuket needs a world class exhibition and convention centre”

The Thaiger

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“Phuket needs a world class exhibition and convention centre” | The Thaiger

“Two key developments we are tracking is Central Festivals next phase of expansion and Proud Groups Andamanda project that both have significant concerence, meeting and incentive space.”

Plans to promote Phuket as a world-class MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) location are being obstructed by many impediments –  inefficient town planning, poor transport systems and poor availability of land in tourist locations.

Dusida Worrachaddejchai writes that Phuket’s deputy governor says the province has a blueprint to build an exhibition and convention hall to host international events with a capacity up to 5,000. But he said that town planning rules forbid building a hall larger than 6,000 square metres with a hight greater than 23 metres.

The prohibition for a proper convention hall by town planning appears to be one of the few projects impeded by lax town planning laws.

The project has been talked about for decades with Phuket’s potential as an active MICE venue being hampered by the lack of facilities, principally a large convention and exhibition centre.

If some provisions of the current town planning act for Phuket can be amended, the likely destination for a convention centre would be Thalang district. The deputy governor says he hopes it can be built in a few years and make Phuket able to bid for international events and expos.

But Thalang, although within 15 minutes of the Phuket International Airport, has little offer convention and exhibition delegates with most of the beaches and tourist infrastructure on the island’s southern coastal areas (Patong, Kata, Karon).

C9hotelworks’ Bill Barnett says proper MICE facilities have been a long time coming for Phuket.

“Phuket hotel developers are finally seeing the signifigance of the MICE trade. Two key developments we are tracking is Central Festivals next phase of expansion and Proud Groups Andamanda project that both have significant concerence, meeting and incentive space. TCEB ae active in the working on Phuket as a MICE destination so we see the future direction as positive, at last.”

Meanwhile the Thai government has foreshadowed that five Thai cities will be earmarked as MICE locations – Phuket, along with Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Pattaya and Bangkok. The deptuty governor sprouted Phuket’s existing MICE credentials – 600 hotels offering 40,000 guest rooms, 220 convention rooms, 615 meeting rooms, 14 piers and four private marinas. But these facilities are spread all over the island with poor access and almost no public transportation.

Plans for a world class convention centre have been brought up from time to time over the past two decades with provincial officials huffing and puffing about the need for a proper facility for the growing island but, so far, nothing has happened and the island remains a leading tourist destination with little attraction for larger conferences, exhibitions and events.

In the past the private sector – primarily Central Group and Jungceylon – have indicated their interest to build a convention hall in the Patong area. But town planning issues and the ever-dwindling available land in the seaside city have shelved any progress.

Southern beach locations, with excellent hotels, shopping and beaches – Karon and Kata – have also been flagged as potential locations but access, especially from the airport, remains poor. Travel times to the southern beaches from the airport is at least an hour and involves trips across the notorious hills roads at either Patong or Kata.

Progress on the Patong Tunnel has also stalled with successive governments unable to progress the project.

The government should improve mass transport from the airport to Patong and other western coast districts in Phuket, namely Karon, to facilitate large groups such as Mice travellers that require more than buses and vans, Ms Chalermluck said.

Last year, more than 2 million visitors arrived in Phuket for MICE events, generating 19.5 billion baht in income. But MICE industry proponents say that number could be easily tripled with a proper convention and exhibition venue.

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