PHUKET: Tourists on Patong Beach received a midday surprise yesterday when the 12 finalists in the Miss Slovakia beauty pageant arrived to try parasailing.
The bevy of beauties are in Phuket to film a promotional video to be screened on TV in their home country during the final round of the Miss Slovakia contest.
Bangornrat Shinaprayoon, director of the southern regional office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), told the Phuket Gazette that, “From the tour operators I have talked to, tourism between Phuket and Slovakia has good potential. Slovakia is one of the new tourism markets for Phuket.
“Only about 1,000 tourists from Slovakia visit Phuket [a year], while most European tourists [in Phuket] are from Western Europe,” she said.
“I think it’s a good idea to start promoting Phuket through their activities so Phuket can become a popular holiday destination for them in the future,” Ms Bangornrat added.
“Our beaches are one of their favorites since Slovakia is surrounded by mountains and has no coast. Travel to Phuket is also convenient as Eastern Europe is not far from here. It takes no longer than 10 hours by plane,” she added.
The video being recorded in Phuket will be aired on Slovakian TV for two to three months until the final round of the contest.
“People in Slovakia can get to know and see Thailand in many aspects through the show. Also, Phuket is the number one beach destination for tourists in Thailand,” Director Bangornrat said.
Miss Slovakia contestant Lubica Kvasnicova, 23, explained, “We are in the middle of Europe and we do not have any beaches. So swimming in the sea and scuba diving are activities we always look forward to.
“Bangkok, Phuket and Phi Phi are the most popular places for Slovakian people to visit in Thailand. I think our travel agents have done a great job of promoting here,” she said.
“The younger generation, a lot of my friends, for example, they love Thailand. I was told that I had to come here to see it for myself and that I would be amazed,” said Daniela Szitkeyova, 22.
“I am amazed by the temples. I have been to three temples in Bangkok and I am really interested in Buddhism. So, it is like a dream come true,” she added.
The contestants were special guests at a rooftop cocktail party at the Mecure Patong Hotel last night.
The party of 12 will continue their tour of Phuket and Phi Phi Island until January 21, when they will depart for their home country’s capital, Bratislava.
— Janpen Upatising
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