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Staff ready the Banyan Tree at Laguna Phuket for the Indian ''invasion''

Phuket Resorts Rumble Over Indian Travel Sales

Thursday, September 23, 2010
News Analysis

A LARGE gathering of travel agents from India will be held at Laguna Phuket this weekend but a plan for a face-to-face with a broad selection of representatives from Phuket resorts has fallen through.

The Phuket Tourism Association had hoped to organise a meeting between the travel agents and Phuket resorts to talk business and possibly even save the expense of a Phuket road show to India.

But delay and confusion led to the plan failing to materialise. In the aftermath, accusations of self-interest have been flying in the direction of Laguna Phuket.

Officially, all Laguna Hotels and Resorts will say is that it was up to the client, the Travel Agents' Association of India, to decided whether to hold a gathering with the PTA.

Inquiries by Phuketwan reveal that the Phuket face-to-face between resort reps and more than 900 Indian travel agents was unlikely to ever come off.

Attempts to finalise a table-top gathering and dinner for this Sunday came too late, involved too many organisations, slow communication and a failure to agree on costs.

Bringing in food from other Phuket resorts may have initially seemed like a good idea but the concept failed to meet the Starwood chain's health and safety standards for food preparation.

While an opportunity appears to have gone begging, insiders say it was no such thing because the Indian travel agents are here to deal with the congress agenda, unwind and see what Phuket has to offer, not to talk new business.

Laguna Phuket will be going ahead with its own road show to India in the near future, an indication that the destination resort does not see winning the annual TAAI congress for Phuket as an opportunity to defray other expenditure.

Sunday afternoon, free time for the Indian delegates, would have been a chance for up to 20 resorts to present to delegates at booths inside Laguna's new Latitude conference venue and follow on with a PTA-sponsored dinner to show off the food from different resorts.

However, bringing in food and reheating it posed a problem because Starwood health and safety rules do not permit such a process.

An alternative proposal to bring in cold food and have hot food prepared at the Dusit Thani Resort also failed because the deadline passed with no agreement on costs.

Laguna attempted to offer alternatives but these all involved the PTA or the outside resorts meeting the cost of providing the meal and staff to serve it from a temporary facility.

In attempting to stitch together a last-minute deal it appears, as one insider says with unintended irony that there were ''too many cooks in the kitchen.''

Having reduced costs as far as possible to attract and sponsor the gathering, Laguna management felt it had done all it could to promote Phuket.

There was ''too much risk'' involved in bringing in food from outside. What was on the table at discussions proved to be ''very last minute'' and ''unrealistic.''

With a packed schedule, the insertion of a three-hour face-to-face business session into the free time allocated for Sunday afternoon may not have produced a great response from the travel agents.

The final decision, Phuketwan was told, lay with Laguna's client, the TAAI. A face-to-face is not on the preliminary schedule of activities. Association officials are on their way to Phuket today and unavailable for comment.

A media release yesterday quotes association president Rajinder Rai as saying: ''TAAI's objective is to showcase a new destination to our delegates every year and Phuket is an ideal and beautiful destination.

''Many agents in India have heard about Phuket, but not visited the island. This Congress will provide the ideal opportunity for our members to experience the best of the destination and gain the knowledge to promote it.''

The release also quotes Michael Ayling, managing director, Laguna Resorts and Hotels, as saying: ''We're delighted to be hosting such a prestigious gathering that will promote Phuket to an important international tourist market. It's also particularly pleasing that Latitude is the showcase for this major event.''

The congress is also being actively supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-ngob.
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Let's be honest, business travel conferences are just an excuse to get away from your wife and family for some fun and frolicking with bar girls.

Posted by Let's be honest on September 27, 2010 11:16

Editor Comment:

Let's be honest, Let's be honest . . . you are ill-prepared for life in the real world.

Wednesday July 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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