Phuket King’s Cup Regatta leads Phuket's sports tourism drive
Wed, 7 Nov 2012
Recognised throughout the eastern hemisphere as the premier sailing event of its kind, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta will once more put on a spectacular display of the finest sailing talent from around the world, competing on the Andaman Sea to win the ‘must-have’ racing trophy in all of Asia from 1 to 8 December, 2012. In addition to the Regatta’s gravitas in attracting sailors from over 35 countries and some of the fastest racing vessels in the region, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is also an important event for the island in terms of development and commerce.
One of the longest running international sporting events in Phuket, the Regatta generates a great deal of revenue for the local economy, bringing with it sports tourists with disposable income and around 40 million Baht in tourism receipts, according to a survey by the organisers. It serves to the great benefit of Phuket’s hotels and restaurants which enjoy a surge of custom before, during and after Regatta Week.
When travel, excursions and repeat visits during the year are factored in, the economic contribution of the event is likely to be in the region of 300 million Baht. The event is strongly supported by local authorities and Phuket Province, who work together with event organisers to make the Regatta an annual success for everyone on the Island.
The full complement of classes for the 2012 race year include IRC Zero (international 'Grand Prix' boats), the highly competitive IRC1, IRC2, IRC3, Premier, Sport Boats, Modern Classic, Bareboat Charter, Multihull, Firefly 850 Sports, Classic and Cruising classes.
2012’s Regatta will also see Windsurfing reintroduced as a competitive class, and will feature some of Thailand’s most famous windsurfing stars, including Ek Boonsawad, and Siriporn 'Dao' Kaewduanggam. Ek recently represented Thailand at the 2012 London Olympics, while Dao won the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore. Up to 40 will compete including the Ladies 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist Marina Alabau Neira from Spain.
The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2012 will also feature Dinghy racing as part of its roster of international events. Its inclusion has played a part in the development of youth sailing in Thailand, encouraging more young sailors to take up the sport, and empowering the development of talented and aspiring skippers. The reputation of Thailand as a sailing nation continues to grow strongly, with the Phuket Dinghy Series functioning as an essential proving ground for competitors wishing to progress to full-scale cruisers and racing boats. Windsurfers and dinghies compete for four days (2nd - 5th December) while keelboats and multihulls compete over five days (3rd – 8th December, with the 6th December a rest day).
Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee, spoke of the role this classic event plays in the development of Thailand as a sailing nation and sailing destination: 'We are very proud that the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is able to take a regional role in contributing to the growth of the Thai sailing community and the yachting industry in Thailand, reinforcing its position as one of the world’s premier sailing destinations. It serves as an inspiration for new and improving Thai sailors, giving them a superb opportunity to experience international competition. From a wider perspective, it is hugely beneficial for Phuket, a part of Thailand famed for its beautiful surroundings, legendary hospitality and suitability for hosting Asia’s ultimate Regatta.'
The Phuket King's Cup is also famed for its series of legendary beachside parties, attracting over 1,500 partygoers who enjoy the live music, great atmosphere and food and drink provided by the Regatta’s sponsors. In this respect, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta also functions as a high quality platform for event partners looking to grow their profile nationally and engage directly with the sports sailing community and the general public.
Kata Group Resorts Thailand has been principal sponsor of the event for 15 years. Pamuke Achariyachai, President, Kata Group Resorts Thailand, said, 'The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is one of the leading, internationally significant regattas in the world of yachting. The Regatta is based at Kata Beach Resort & Spa, a popular and idyllic beach resort in Phuket. Already famous for its stunning views of Kata Beach and its immediate beach access, the resort becomes more special during Regatta Week as the view from the water’s edge is even more spectacular with the boats moored offshore. We are proud to enjoy our close association with such a magnificent race.'
As a principal fixture on the Asian yachting circuit, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta under Royal Patronage annually features upwards of 100 boats, ranging from high tech to live-aboard ocean cruisers, multihulls and classics. International-standard race management is combined with lively beach parties to create this world-renowned yacht racing exhibition.