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Too often the image of Phuket does not reflect the power of local brands and entrepreneurs who are positively going about their businesses, despite the pandemic.

Today we are pleased to present three episodes of C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications Thai road trip video episodes that give short glimpses into the people and  innovation in Phuket.

Saatu Health and Well-Being Elixers

Torry’s Ice Cream

John Donut

Look for more episodes in the coming weeks as we urge our readers to go local and support their neighborhood businesses in these strange crazy times. Phuket continues to rock and roll and these stories here are inspiring and full of hope.

Last Friday I was able to attend the roundtable discussion that was organized by the Phuket Tourism’s Association’s Khun Bhummikitti Rukaengam at the Angsana Laguna Phuket. It was an impressive turnout, that included large numbers from both the island’s public and private sector and Minor’s Bill Heinecke was in attendance.

What is now being proposed is to vaccinate 70% of the island’s population as soon as possible to accelerate herd immunity. What is on the table is that the current regulations allow for medical facilities to order the vaccine direct and that the island’s PSU (Prince of Songkla University) would be eligible for that.

Doing the math, 70% of the population is 275,000 people and with a cost of THB5,500-6,000 for two does, the cost is about THB1.6 billion. The question of course is who will pay?

Realistically Phuket cannot and should not simply stand by and ride the wave of whatever happens across all of Thailand. The successful reopening of the Maldives to overseas tourism is a demonstrated proof of concept. If the island has to face another year of domestic only tourism, our hotels and economy will be shattered, and even more massive job losses at hand.

Both the public and private sector have the opportunity for a Phuket ‘travel bubble’ to take place and the island can reopen by October if the industry can get behind this with the provincial leadership and local municipal organizations.

It’s now or never and Phuket has to find a way to accelerate mass vaccinations, as a quarantine-dependent tourism industry simply cannot and will not survive. #fight4Phuket.

To read a complete recap of the meeting, click the following –

The Phuket News

The 114-room Thanyapura Sports and Health Resort Phuket has been sold to a Thai group.

According to a public notice, the new owner is the Yenbamroong family, who are well known in Thailand’s petroleum industry.

In the latest move, the sale effectively is a second step to unwinding the Thanyapura integrated education, sports, and health-oriented resort.

The internationally affiliated international school UWC Phuket is now under a Thai foundation and led by a board of parents who recently injected a substantial level of investment into the operation.

Reportedly the resort will be managed by Thanyapura for an undisclosed term, while the group is looking to expand into Mainland China via a Singapore entity with T-Hub branded developments.

Creating a buzz in the news has been widespread reports that 70 international travelers will enter the country on Sunday and go into villa quarantine at the Sri Panwa resort in Phuket.

The upscale tourists are from the United States, Ukraine, Brazil, Canada, France, and Denmark,

Arrival in Phuket will be on a charter aircraft and they are coming in from Indonesia, where they have been traveling on a similar exclusive basis.

The Thai government and CCSA have vetted the entry. They will be required to stay in their rooms for the first five days and after that can freely use the resort facilities.,

If this initial program works and ongoing Covid-19 testing is successful the pilot program will be expanded after this proof of concept.

Join C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications in Wild Side Story – A Virtual Extravaganza Celebrating World Wildlife Day.

Set for Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 2:00pm/Bangkok, 3:00pm/Singapore/Hong Kong/Manila. To sign up click  on the following link:

Register

Has the pandemic left you comfortably numb? Well it’s time to shake it off, stop what you are doing, and take a passionately primal journey past the tipping point to the dawn of the age of regenerative tourism.

Over the past year, tourism and hotel sectors are finding a new path forward after absolute and total disruption. 2021 is a fork in the road and this special educational and entertaining event is a trip off the beaten path into what our world may look like in the years ahead.

Today we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play it forward as an industry and bring the values of conservation, restoration and environment to the top of the list. Join us on international World Wildlife Day as notable experts and a slightly unhinged cast of characters talk about making meaningful change for travel and hotels. Yes, it might get weird, but for certain, it won’t be boring.

The one-hour event will also host a wacky and amazing, virtual raffle with all proceeds going to the Shinta Mani Foundation/Wildlife Alliance for wildlife protection.

Animal House – Cast and Crew

  • Bill Bensley, Bensley
  • Suwanna Gauntlett, Wildlife Alliance
  • Maggie Lee, Wild Chain
  • Jason Friedman, J.M, Friedman and Co.
  • Bill (the other Bill) Barnett, C9 Hotelworks
  • David Johnson and Sumi Soorian, Delivering Asia Communications

This event is part of an ongoing series from C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications aimed at educating, rethinking and inspiring the hospitality industry.

Register

As we move through 2021, the year’s hospitality event calendar is being set now. Of note is the rescheduled date for the Thailand Tourism Forum 2021 on 22nd March at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok.

Also the mainstream HICAP Conference has been relocated from Hong Kong to Singapore in October. The move of the legacy event is a surprise to many in the industry.

For now, we can expect a new combination of virtual and in person events for the near future as everyone grapples with what will be the new norm for post Covid-19. But as we know, the pandemic continues to rage for the moment so expect the space to keep changing, which is not always a bad thing.

The Asian events calendar follows –

Thailand Tourism Forum (in person event)
22nd March 2021

HICAP Update (virtual event)
30th March 2021

SEAHIS Bangkok
30th September & 1st October 2021

AOCAP Singapore
19th & 20th October 2021

HICAP Singapore
20th, 21st and 22nd October 2021

Good news. Phuket province has eased travel restrictions for visitors from Bangkok and Samut Prakan to the island.

The move effectively removes the 14-day quarantine period.

A key catalyst in the policy change has reportedly been expected high levels of travel during the Chinese New Year period next month.

Travelers are still required to use the Mor Chana app and register trips on gophuget.com.

Close your eyes. Go ahead. Remember a time when you were young. The magic as a kid, taking blankets, sheets, or even boxes and creating a fantastical tent or unique crazed getaway in the house. Letting your imagination go wild and take you on a journey to incredible places.

Or pitching a tent in the backyard and sleeping out in a strange but wonderful outdoors. Fresh air. Adventure was in the wind. Staring up at the stars in a strange, unknown universe. Later on, camping trips from beaches, to mountains or in the desert that remain etched in the rich fabric of a lifetime.

For so many of us, our collective early travel memories do not rely on buffets, cookie-cutter hotel rooms, or stale club sandwiches on room service trays. They often have sound bites or glimpse deep inside of simple things that often are the best ones.

One of my recent trips on a Southern spin to the South of Phuket was to Roost Glamping in Rawai. A small, boutique, and exotic property rooted in a celebration of simplicity. Rustic tents, a smallish but tempting pool, and a cool casual atmosphere.

If you want a little getaway, a family trip, or a romantic night away, it’s certainly worth a short drive. Go ahead, make some memories. Travel is meant to break a sweat, move around and be all the more special with a few rough edges around it.

Check out a short video visit to Roost Glamping as part of C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications Thai road trip series:

Or if you want to explore the growing trend of glamping resorts from some of the hotel industry’s best experts on the subject, watch a replay of the virtual online learning event – Glamping – Hotels Beyond Four Walls:

Topping Thailand’s economic news are comments by the Prime Minister that he is willing to consider opening up gambling, according to the Bangkok Post.

With the Thai economy struggling at funding an economic recovery process that has been under extreme duress by Covid-19, the question now will the pandemic be an accelerator of a long-lasting national debate over legalizing gambling?

The news also states that the government is currently soliciting public opinion on the subject, while at the same time is embroiled in issues over illegal gambling, money laundering, and health and safety issues with Covid-19 illegitimate gatherings for gaming activities.

Certainly, the country could use much-needed tax revenue to fund infrastructure, social welfare, and economic stimulus. While the nation’s tourism industry already has the capacity to house casinos and an infrastructure that can easily fast-track a new, and much-needed visitor segment.

With Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, and even Japan now embracing legalized gaming, should Thailand now change course? The conversation is coming into the mainstream, so stay tuned.