Raimon Land and the Phuket King's Cup Regatta

Phuket’s position as Asia’s premier luxury resort property destination is becoming increasingly entrenched as investors continue to display confidence in the destination.

Attractive returns ensure a thriving and growing property sector which, combined with the island’s lifestyle benefits are inviting the attention of numerous well-healed regional and international investors.

The upscale lifestyle that is now synonymous with Phuket will be in full view this week during the King’s Cup Regatta, an event that has grown into one of Asia’s 'A' list annual social occasions.

The week will see Phuket brimming with high-net worth individuals attracted to a signature event which acts as a stylish showcase for the island, further building its profile in the eyes of potential investors in the luxury property market.

Hi-end condominium and villa projects provide the residences for those drawn to Phuket and its boutiques, golf courses -- including Blue Canyon Country Club, Mission Hills, and the Phuket Country Club -- and marina. Further support services and facilities such as hospitals, shopping malls, supermarkets and international schools, and of course the Phuket International Airport (PIA), ensure that day to day needs are satisfied too.

One core lifestyle activity, with a vibrant social scene, that is a big draw for visitors with stronger spending power, is sailing. Royal Phuket Marina, on the island’s east coast, offers excellent facilities for docking your own yacht or for chartering one, and it recently received international recognition as a centre of excellence when it was awarded the Marina Five Gold Anchors Award from the British Marine Federation.

The marine industry has been significantly strengthened over the past few years, not least due to the efforts of the Royal Thai Government who have supported boating events and reduced import on luxury boats to zero. This has resulted in sending out the right message to high-end visitors and investors that they are valued and welcome to the island.

Two major boating events have also helped bolster Phuket’s position as a key sailing hub. The annual Phuket International Marine Expo, which is held every December and has been running since 2003, is sponsored by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. The event provides the ideal opportunity to present the latest luxury yachts available, and surrounding marine fashions and technologies. It also features a number of race events, including the Phuket International Dragon Boat Challenge Cup.

The King’s Cup Regatta has become a driving force in building Phuket’s reputation and profile and Ramon Land is proud to prove its commitment to the island, and its seriousness as a responsible developer, by being the King's Cup’s principal sponsor.

Not only have the last two years been very special for the event, and for the whole kingdom, with last year's celebration marking His Majesty the King’s 60th year accession the throne, and his 80th birthday on December 5, but the King’s Cup has won international plaudits as Asia top regatta, after picking up Yachting Event of the Year at the Christofle Asia Boating Awards, for the past two years.

Tapping in to this highly affluent community has been key to building Phuket’s position and the luxurious lifestyle and tropical living that it offers. The success of our association with the King’s Cup has driven us to embrace the sponsoring of other regattas -- Phang Nga Bay Regatta (Feb), Top of the Gulf Regatta – Pattaya (May), Koh Samui Regatta (June), Phuket Race Week (July).

Taking a leading role in helping to support the tourism industry are central to establishing the destination’s attractiveness to international investors and we are glad to see a satisfying response in the take-up rates of projects in the island, with Phuket maintaining a healthy rate.

Phuket’s tourism industry continues to grow from strength-to-strength. PIA’s first quarter arrivals in 2007 came in 10% higher than 2006, and by May this year, the number had reached 2.5 million with more than 25 international airlines offering direct flights on both a chartered and scheduled basis. Arrivals are expected to hit 4.7 million visitors by the year’s end, matching the record set in 2004, which was hailed as the island's 'Golden Year', prior to the tsunami.

The lure of Phuket as an international luxury destination has been further enhanced by an increasing number of five-star hotel brands opening on the island and in nearing provinces, such as Shangri-La, Hyatt, Peninsula, Four Seasons and Raffles managed properties.

The luxury property market will benefit accordingly and will continue to provide healthy buying opportunities for astute investors who believe in the long-term potential of Thailand’s premier resort destination.

Nigel Cornick is Chief Executive Officer of Raimon Land Public Co., Ltd, Thailand’s leading international property developer with projects in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. For more information visit www.raimonland.com.