SPORT TOURISM BOOM CONTINUES IN THAILAND
The 2015 Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest will kick off on Sunday 22 November with the legendary 22nd annual Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT), followed by the 3rd Challenge Laguna Phuket (CLP) next Sunday 29 November.
The Tri-Fest media conference was graced by Dr. Jingjai Hanchanlash, Vice Chairman of Thai Chamber of Commerce and Honorary Consul of Jamaica to Thailand; Mr. Ravi Chandran, Managing Director of Laguna Phuket – the race organiser; Ms. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas) of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT); Mr. Suvadhana Sibunruang, Director of Marketing Development & Commercial Communications of Thai Airways International (TG) and Mr. Artiwara Kongmalai or “Khun Toon Bodyslam” Thailand’s number one rock star and Tri-Fest participant. Held today (Saturday 21 November) at Laguna Grove, Laguna Phuket, it was also attended by organisers, sponsors, and pro athletes.
“This year, we will see around 1,900 international athletes at our two races, way more than the anticipated number of 1,500. What I find inspiring is that the number of Thai athletes who has registered for the highly rigorous Challenge Laguna Phuket race has doubled from last year highlighting its growing popularity.” enthused Mr. Ravi Chandran.
Dr. Jingjai Hanchanlach added, “Thailand has witnessed the shift in tourist patterns for over a decade now. From traditional beach holidays, new generation travel makers are keen to go on sport-related vacations where they can participate in marathon, bike, duathlon and triathlon events at various tourist locations nationwide. As Asia’s longest standing triathlon race which is organised in such beautiful setting, Laguna Phuket integrated resort is certainly one of the most desirable sport tourism destinations.”
“The Thai government will continue our support to proliferate the growth in the sport tourism sector. It is in our pipeline to bring the fastest man in the world Usain Bolt (the Lightning Bolt) of Jamaica to Thailand and Phuket in the near future,” he concluded.
RACE FOR GOOD CAUSES
Thailand’s number one rock star Mr. Artiwara Kongmalai, best known for his stage name “Toon Bodyslam” said “From my first marathon and triathlon races to the charity concert which I performed last August, I am always impressed by this beautiful resort and its professional event organising standards. Laguna Phuket and I share similar beliefs in promoting healthy lifestyle and supporting charitable causes.”
As in previous years, athletes and participants in the Tri-Fest are encouraged to donate to Laguna Phuket Foundation for its ongoing local charitable causes such as “Fully Booked!” Mobile Learning Centre, social enterprise restaurant “Seedlings Phuket” and many more.
This year’s Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest is headed by defending champions: Ruedi Wild (SUI), title holder of 2014 Challenge Laguna Phuket; Massimo Cigana (ITA) and Alberto Casadei (ITA), who jointly made history last year at 2014 Laguna Phuket Triathlon when they crossed the finish line as one and gave LPT its first dual champions. Cigana is also LPT’s first four-time winner (2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014.)
Also making appearance at the conference is World Champion Michael Raelert (DEU) who is the Laguna 70.3 race’s champion from 2011. Raelert recently defended his title at a 70.3 race in Miami, Florida.
The Tri-Fest will also see returning Laguna Phuket champions such as Tim O’Donnell (USA, won 70.3 race in 2010) and Radka Vodickova (CZE, won LPT in 2009, 2011 and 2012).
Pros to watch also include Luke McKenzie (AUS), Allan Steen Olesen (DNK), Till Schramm (DEU), Simone Braendli (SUI) and the reigning Duathlon World Champion Emma Pallant (GBR) to name a few.
OFFICIAL MASCOT UNVEILED
Members of the press and the conference’s audiences were in for a treat when Laguna Phuket unveiled its official Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest’s mascot “Laguna.” Adorning baby elephant costume, Laguna makes his Tri-Fest’s debut at this year’s races and will be ready for photo opportunity at all time.
During the weeklong Tri-Fest, all the pros will be staying within the Laguna Phuket resort complex to participate in various sport and social functions between the two races. This year, one of the most popular events – “Meet the Pros” cocktail party will take place at the newly opened Cassia Phuket on Friday 27 November where athletes can get up-close and personal with their favourite pros.
On top of the Tri-Fest experience, athletes and their companions can enjoy a host of world-class services and facilities available at Laguna Phuket; from award-wining 18-hole golf course, XANA beach club, Laguna Tours and excursions, Canal Shopping Village to world-renowned Banyan Tree Spa and Angsana Spas. Athletes can also discover Laguna Phuket as an ideal second home by visiting the Laguna Property Centre to explore the wide range of properties and various great deals on offer.
At the time of press conference, 2015 Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest has around 1,900 entries registered, representing 44 nationalities.