Phuket is preparing to host one of Asia’s largest sailing events, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta.
Held 4th - 11th December off Kata Beach, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta attracts in excess of 100 boats and 2,000 participants from around the world to Phuket every year. Participants come to enjoy the Island, the tropical sailing conditions, and to challenge for the Royal Trophy.
The 2010 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta has received 97 entries to date from all continents, with a strong showing from Asian countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and, of course, Thailand.
2009 was a record year for the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta with 111 entries and participants from over 30 countries taking part. An independent survey by Infinity Communications & Consultant found that participants spent over THB40 million on accommodation and living during the regatta week. Flights, travel, excursions and extensions of stay likely mean the economic impact of the Regatta is in excess of THB100 million.
“The 2010 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is considered the regatta in Asia and this year, with already 97 entries, we are hopeful of surpassing last years record fleet. We have entries coming from all corners of the world to Phuket, to challenge for the Royal Trophy,” said Kevin Whitcraft, President of the 24th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee.
The survey also found that many participants are repeat visitors to Phuket, with the majority having been to Phuket more than five times previously, underscoring Phuket’s popularity as a marine tourism destination.
Local island and authority support has proven essential to the long-term growth of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. The Royal Thai Navy have been instrumental in on-water support providing boats and personnel and safety services for the Regatta every year, and the Province of Phuket continues to be the perfect host with island-wide support from local businesses, official authorities and governmental departments, media and the public.
For the first time ever, young sailors will take part in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta this year in a new Optimist Class. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta started a grassroots initiative earlier this year called the Phuket Dinghy Series. This is a 4-event series which started in September and will conclude on the opening weekend of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta. Thailand children from all over Thailand have taken part in the series so far and at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta there will be children from Sattahip, Songkhla, Samui, Nakorn Si Thammarat, Phang Nga, and Phuket.
“The Phuket Dinghy Series is a grassroots initiative to help grow sailing as a sport amongst Thai youngsters in Phuket and around Thailand. At the last weekend event there were 17 children racing in Optimists and at the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta itself we expect many more. Phuket has been a great host for the Regatta and we wanted to give something back to the local community in the form of a youth sailing competition,” said Whitcraft.
The winner of the overall series will receive a replica of the Royal Trophy presented at the Royal Awards Ceremony on 11th December at Kata Beach Resort & Spa, by His Majesty the King’s Personal Representative, Mom Luang Usni Pramoj.