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Phuket can expect fewer visitor arrivals from Bangkok after last night's blast

Phuket Fightback Targets 500 Million Baht Conference

Friday, April 23, 2010
PHUKET is expected to remain the frontrunner in a bidding war to attract about 2000 visitors from India for a key conference that would provide a 400-500 million baht bonus at the beginning of the next high season for the island.

Direct flights to Phuket should ease any concerns caused by last night's blasts in Bangkok. However, Thailand's tourism industry sank into despair as news of the tragic encounter spread quickly around the world. Pattaya is probably now out of the race for the prize conference of the Tourist Association of India.

Turkey and the Philippines remain the other strong contenders, but Phuket has a lot of experience and appeal with a growing reputation as a destination for costly Indian weddings and the ability to cater for visitors with every kind of budget. The flow-on effects of hosting the Tourist Association of India are obvious: win these 2000 hearts and minds, and thousands more are likely to follow.

In a positive meeting with officials from India yesterday, Vice Governor Tree Acaradeat accentuated Phuket's handling of the Asean foreign ministers gathering in 2009 as an example of the island's big-occcasion hosting skills.

While no destination resorts have been assigned the project, regional Tourism of Thailand director Bangornrat Shinaprayoon told Phuketwan that, with family and friends likely to also visit Phuket for the conference, the gathering could extend to a week-long bonus for Phuket in the September-October period. With pre-conference and post-conference extensions, Khun Bangornrat estimated the potential revenue boost for Phuket at 400-500 million baht.

The director of the TAT's New Delhi office, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudha, accompanied the delegation from the Tourist Association of India.
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