Phuket Raceweek 2012: Asian Yachting Grand Prix kicks off in Phuket
13 June, 2012
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, the ninth edition of Phuket’s ‘home-grown’ international yacht regatta, marks the start of the 2012/13 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship to decide the coveted ‘Asia Skipper of the Year’ and ‘Asia Boat of the Year’ titles The Regatta will be held from 18-22 July 2012.
About 40 yachts and up to 500 yacht owners, captains, crew, families and friends from more than 20 countries will descend on the luxury Cape Panwa Hotel on Phuket’s southeast coast for four days of intense, but fun, competition and five nights of glittering beachside parties.
“The financial benefit of this regatta to Phuket businesses is much higher than the numbers suggest,” said Grenville Fordham, managing director of rights owners and organisers, Image Asia Events Co. Ltd.
“Yacht repairs, servicing and provisioning go alongside hotel accommodation, marina berthing, wining and dining around the island, transport and other services to bring in many millions of baht in direct tourism revenue from this high spending sector,” he added.
Sports tourism is a growing niche on Phuket with more sporting events leveraging the setting, facilities and tropical climate Phuket offers. According to a representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, in 2011 3.4 million tourists visited to Phuket and that is expected to increase by over 13% for 2012 to 3.87 million. Sports tourism is a contributor to this growth with established events raising the Island’s profile amongst a highly desirable international clientelle.
At a recent press conference for the Regatta, Miss Thailand World 2012 Vanessa Herrmann, who happens to also be from Phuket, commented that she is “Very happy for this event to promote Cape Panwa area and also Phuket’s surrounds, its facilities and attractions, to international tourists,” adding “My advice to tourists is don’t miss the sea and the activities. Tourists really shouldn’t miss out.”
Hosting the event for the first this this year, Cape Panwa Hotel (part of the Kasemkij Hotels group) recently signed a multi-year Title Sponsorship deal to name and host the regatta. “This new partnership is a perfect fit with our position in the market,” said Tirawan Pangsrivongse, Kasemkij Hotels’ Project Development Manager, adding that Phuket is a leader in Thailand in promoting the fast-growing sports tourism sector.
Commenting on the number of entries expected for the 2012 regatta, Fordham said, “Although formal entries tend to come in during the final month preceding the regatta, entries at this stage are a bit higher than they were at this time last year and there’s a positive ‘buzz’ in the yachting community, so we anticipate a strong fleet this year. And the feeling we get from participants is that they’re looking forward very much to the new venue.”
Reliably good winds on the water, and attention to the highest quality onshore, have made Phuket Raceweek a firm favourite of regional and international sailors for many years, and in 2011, the Regatta was official recognised as ‘Best Asian Regatta’ at the Asia Boating awards in Hong Kong – one of only two South East Asian regattas to receive the accolade at the time.