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Phuket Raceweek sails into greener waters

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PHUKET: Asia’s award-winning regatta, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, has become the first regatta in Southeast Asia to be bestowed the official title of a “Clean Regatta”, as approved by Sailors for the Sea.

Phuket Raceweek, to be held this year off Panwa Cape from July 16-20, showcases the island’s natural surrounds, the health of which are inherently linked to the success and long-term sustainability of Phuket’s marine leisure tourism industry.

According to the World Shipping Council, the top 20 importers and exporters of containerized cargo in 2009 and 2010 included 10 countries from Asia, with Thailand ranked sixth for exports and 14th for imports.

As the oceans get busier, garbage in the sea and damage to marine ecosystems continues, which is an issue the organizers of Phuket Raceweek are addressing.

“Sailing is considered to be a clean and green sport, and on the whole it is,” said Byron Jones, managing director of regatta organizers Media Business Services (MBS).

“As residents of Phuket and organizers of an annual sailing event here, the team at Phuket Raceweek are aware of the importance of the sea to Phuket’s tourism and sailing industries, and we aim to ensure the marine environment is left in a better state for future generations.”

The Clean Regattas program is a global certification system that encourages regatta organizers and yacht clubs to manage and run environmentally responsible events. Its main initiative is to reduce marine debris and preserve coastal land and waters.

Regattas in more than 13 countries have been certified, but Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek is the first in Southeast Asia to be granted certification.

“The Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek is committed to serving as a model for responsible sailing,” said Tyson Bottenus, program coordinator, Sailors for the Sea.

“We are thrilled to support their efforts to educate participants on environmental protection. Working with the event, Sailors for the Sea will help to formalize their conservation efforts and help promote responsible environmental behaviors among organizers and regatta participants.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) also recognizes the importance of environmentally-conscious tourism, having identified eco-tourism as one of its niche markets in a strategy to grow niche tourism and not solely rely on “tourism by numbers”.

The TAT’s Seven Greens program, which provides a conceptual framework and establishes practical guidelines for carefully balancing tourism promotion and a healthy, sustainable environment.

To this, Phuket Raceweek are introducing the following Clean Regattas Best Practices at the 2014 regatta:

• Water Only Wash Downs (Graywater Reduction): Participants will be asked to use “water only” when washing down their boats during the course of the regatta. This reduces run-off of phosphates and nitrates commonly found in cleaning products.

• Oil Spill Prevention: Motorized vessels shall carry and use at least one bilge sponge and one fueling spill pad.

• Trash Free Regatta: Overboard discharge of trash and littering at shore facilities will be prevented and strongly discouraged.

• Recycling: Recycling services at shore facilities will be available for participants to deposit separated recyclable materials such as bottles, cans, paper and other materials.

• Water Bottle Reduction: Water stations and/or reusable water bottles will be provided to reduce single-use disposable water bottles.

• Promote the Use of Non-Toxic Cleaning Products: Organizers will include and implement a list of environmentally-friendly cleaning products that can be used throughout the event.

“This is just the first step and we are excited to lead the way in Southeast Asia and introduce the Clean Regattas program to our event,” said Mr Jones.

“We are keen to help preserve the coastal area of Phuket and with our certification to the Clean Regattas program this is now part of the event’s DNA. Working together with the event’s participants we will ensure the program’s success.”

Voted “Asian Regatta of the Year” at the 2011 Asia Boating Awards, Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek continues to deliver excellence, and with the Clean Regattas program certification continues its tradition of innovation and leadership, he said.

The 2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek is set to welcome boats and crews from around the world for four days of world-class yacht racing off Phuket’s southeast coast from July 16-20 .

For more information, visit www.phuketraceweek.com, www.facebook.com/PhuketRaceweekRegatta, www.twitter.com/phuketraceweek or www.youtube.com/phuketraceweek

The Phuket Gazette and PGTV’s ‘Phuket Today’ show, the island’s only nationally broadcast television program (aired daily on True Visions channels HD-79 and SD-107), are proud to sponsor this event.

 

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