Key figures in Phuket’s hospitality industry have joined ranks to form a new non-profit and strategy-and-action group, the Phuket Hotels Association (PHA).
“The recently launched ‘Phuket Hotels Association’ has enlisted over 40 chain and independent properties; representing nearly 7,000 rooms in total and is poised to double its reach by the end of the year,” said the association in a statement issued today (June 8).
“Pairing the private and public sector into a consolidated voice that represents Phuket’s vital hospitality industry is a principal goal of the organisation, which has also enlisted one of the island’s tourism pioneers and prominent hoteliers Khun Wichit Na-Ranong as a Founding Advisor, amongst other prominent hotel owners who have also offered to advise the Association.
“The collaboration is made up of hotel General Managers and Owners to ensure that decisions are made at executive level,” the statement added.
Anthony Lark, best known as General Manager and Managing Director of the Trisara resort, has been installed as the President of Phuket Hotel Association.
Speaking about the rich tourism history of the island, Mr Lark, who has lived and worked in Phuket for over three decades, said, “Phuket is the birthplace of the private hotel pool villa that has taken luxury travellers out of the box and into their own private experience.
“Over the years, the island has established its leadership in world-class spa resorts, large-scale destination events from regattas and yachting, marathons, triathlons and sports tourism,” he added.
At the forefront of creating and enhancing Phuket’s image and messaging towards a sustainable path and focus of quality versus quantity tourism is QUO’s David Keen, who is acting as a the group’s Strategic Advisor, together with Mark Simmons, who heads up Outrigger Asia Pacific’s regional sales and marketing.
“Today, hotels are facing global challenges and taking advantage of the enormous critical mass of hotels and resources locally to create synergies out of the Phuket Hotel Association’s core resource,” said Mr Simmons.
“We’ve seen how other destination organisations have acted historically as one-stop shops for an exchange of information, coordination with local and national tourism bodies and promotional efforts. However, given advances in technology and media, we now recognise the role the private sector can play given the collective reach of our membership,” he added.
Forming the Phuket Hotels Association was no easy task and was a labour of love for Phuket-based hospitality personality Bill Barnett, who is the Managing Director of consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, said the PHA statement.
A long-time advocate of the destination, publishing regular hotel and tourism data on the market and has long believed that the island’s hospitality sector needed to continue to not only take out, but also promote a sustainable path of long-term success.
“To that end, Mr Barnett asked other key tourism figures such as former Laguna Phuket Managing Director Michael Ayling to contribute time to help get the organisation up and running,” the statement added.
“Looking at the current disruptive climate in Asia’s tourism market, the Phuket Hotels Association will work with its members to form a coherent and unified message speaking to the island’s vast assets.
“The redefinition of ‘Brand Phuket’ will aim to regenerate desire among visitors to return to Phuket to experience its wealth of both cultural and natural assets.”
Strategic Advisor Mr Keen noted, “The objective is to redefine the brand image of Phuket and get the full force of its considerable resources to create an innovative and dynamic message.
“To achieve this is a challenging yet exhilarating task. The island still holds all of its original magic. The idea is to harness that and translate it into a culturally rich brand that speaks to the global tourism market,” he said.