Phuket spawns new hotel group

PHUKET, 20 December 2017: Around 50 hoteliers have joined the recently formed Phuket Hotels Association, which is due to be officially launched at the up-coming Thailand Tourism Forum in January.

Reporting on the association’s progress, C9 Hotelworks CEO,  Bill Barnett, in his latest newsletter said the association had “quickly caught the attention of key players in the hotel industry on the island, reaching its target of 50 member hotels.”

Heading the association, as its founding president, is Trisara’s general manager, Anthony Lark, a veteran hotelier who has opened various upscale resorts on the island.

inside no 2Barnett noted that the PHA represented a membership profile of many of the island’s leading internationally branded and independent luxury and mid-scale hotels accounting for 8,820 rooms.

Lark said the aim was to double membership by the end of 2017.

“We are pleased that the industry on the island appreciates the importance of Phuket Hotels Association so we can build the profile of the destination and speak with the same voice in international markets as we develop Brand Phuket,” he told C9Hotelworks.

Phuket Hotels Association will be officially launched on 23 January, 2017 at the Thailand Tourism Forum to be hosted at InterContinental Bangkok.

The launch ceremony will be officiated by founder and Thailand hotel veteran, Wichit na Ranong, who will be accompanied by Outrigger Resorts vice president, sales & marketing Asia Pacific Mark Simmons and QUO CEO, David Keen.

Wichit na Ranong was among the early pioneers of Phuket’s tourism business, opening the island’s first three-star hotel, Pearl Hotel in Phuket town, during the 1970s.

Four Seasons Resort LangkawiAmong a long list of core objectives Phuket Hotels Association says it will promote positive stories about the experiences, natural beauty and people of Phuket, offering support to local government and the tourism authorities in promoting the destination.

However, its formation begs the question why the island needed another hotel association?

Thailand Hotels Association has a strong chapter on the island and there are other associations established with the assistance of government departments that target the island’s hoteliers.

PHA advocates will point to the fast growth of hotels with international links and investment that would justify an association that focuses entirely on the island’s up-scale hotels as opposed to THA which is a national association.

However, critics may claim it could be divisive at a time when the island’s tourism and hospitality would benefit from a single, united voice to represent the sector’s interests, A single body would also be able to lobby the provincial government on policies impacting the hospitality trade from a position of strength.

It was not stated whether PHA would  have a seat and voting rights on the national Tourism Council of Thailand, an umbrella organisation that is supposed to unite all travel and hospitality associations in a single body recognised by the national government.

The new association will launch its first fundraising activity at a gala event in Phuket, 13 May 2017, which aims to raise THB3.5 million (USD100,000) for a hospitality-focused educational scholarship programme.

(Core source: C9 Hotelworks with added reporting and comment)