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Fabulous Maya Bay in Phi Phi, just one of the attractions for Amway China

Phuket's China-Sized Bid to Out-Wow Sydney

Sunday, February 6, 2011
PHUKET is now planning its largest-ever seminar for 8000 visitors, with vast sums to be gained and an incalculable ripple effect likely to be triggered throughout China tourism for years to come.

The holiday island has a hard act to follow: an Australian city that even impressed US television superstar Oprah Winfrey so much she made Sydney the site for her ultimate salute to the world.

Estimates of Sydney's potential revenue from the 2011 event range as high as 12 billion baht, an enticing sum for Phuket tourism, tour managers and ideas people.

A delegation from Laguna Phuket returned this week from Sydney, where Amway China has just concluded its annual incentive travel and leadership destination seminar as a reward for top performing sales distributors.

The visit to Australia was a bonus for the people responsible for notching up record sales of more than 20 billion yuan ($A3 billion) in toiletries, vitamins and make-up.

Debbie Dionysius, Director of Destination Marketing at Laguna Phuket, was impressed. ''Wow! What an experience,'' she said from a taxi on the way home from Phuket International Airport.

''It was a fabulous event. The level of involvement and service were incredible.''

High on the list of priorities for Phuket's largest mega-event, scheduled for April-May 2012, will be finding another 200 Mandarin-speaking guides to join the 150 on Phuket that should be available from Amway's own sources.

''It's a chance for Phuket to show what it does best,'' said Ms Dionysius, ''and that means natural beauty and watersports.''

Amway has chosen Sydney twice for its annual gathering, and Oprah topped off her television career late last year with a series of stunning farewell shows from in and around Sydney and Australia.

Star-power may be missing in the lead-up to 2012 on Phuket but it will be the first time that the event has been held away from one of the great cities of the world.

To earn a coveted spot on the all-expenses paid junket, the Amway China winner's distribution network had to have sold millions of dollars worth of stock to the expanding Chinese middle class.

Amway visitors will descend on Phuket in vast waves, and special needs including a separate arrival and departure area at the airport.

A timetable for the projected doubling of Phuket airport's capacity, which will include the construction of a new international terminal, is expected to be released any day now.

Even if massive numbers of special flights go smoothly, upstaging Sydney will not be simple. Ms Dionysius said the gala dinner in Australia was prepared by the same group that was responsible for the opening ceremony at Sydney's 2000 Olympics, widely regarded as possibly the best yet.

''There was a 360-degree screen around the huge group of diners at the gala dinner at the Homebush Superdome that stretched for 120 metres,'' Ms Dionysius said. ''We can't stage something on that scale in Phuket, so we will make it a more intimate affair and let Phuket work its magic.''

Adventures for Sydney participants included a walk across the Harbor Bridge that slightly impeded regular commuters, and visits to Bondi beach and Hunter Valley wineries.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, 31 elite distributors, known as the Founders Council, have rock-star status within the company. They stayed in the presidential suites of the city's five-star hotels, and were chauffeured in limousines. Amway China opened in 1995, but it is now bigger than Amway US.

Patricipants on Phuket will basically be treated to four or five days of fabulous fun on and around one of the world's best tropical island holiday destinations.

With excellent timing, a takeover/makeover will convert the Sheraton Grande into the Angsana Laguna Phuket with a 500 million baht price tag that will see it reopen in time for the Amway China event.

Los Angeles 2010, Sydney 2011, Phuket 2012.

Surfing with elephants? Flying over Phang Nga Bay in a fleet of longtail boats, or helicopters? Abseiling high across Maya Beach? The planners are dreaming right now.

Success for the Amway China event in 2012 should bring tens of thousands more Chinese to Phuket and Thailand over the years to come.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Yeah, let Phuket work its magic. Maybe naked bungee jumping again.
(What?)

Amway will make their fun by themselves. No need for excellent tuktuk service. That'll be a zero-baht tour.

Posted by Lena on February 7, 2011 02:00

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This is one of the biggest. Corporate entertainment events. Phuket will ever provide..I only hope they have the expertise to organise... to cater for this event...to achieve this they will certainly need..western expert help..having been involved in corporate entertainment here for a long time...the only successful events have been joint ventures..Thai and foreign experts.. Hope it comes off...can only be a feather in the cap for PHUKET..

Posted by STAN on February 7, 2011 07:31

Editor Comment:

We are told that Amway China has a highly-experienced team permanently working on each year's event.


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