SAMUI, Thailand – Samui Island is famous for its white-sand beaches, warm blue sea, shimmering coconut palms and its picture-postcard tropical appeal, but few are aware of its position as a leading sports tourism destination.
The Thai government has a clear policy to promote sports tourism, attracting more international events and sports people to the country, and Samui Island has hosted a number of world-class international sports events the largest and longest running being the Samui Regatta.
Turning 16 this year, Samui Regatta has grown to attract the best yachts in Asia and a large spectator following who come to Samui for great sailing, excellent beach parties and to experience the island's acclaimed hospitality.
Regattas Asia, organisers of Samui Regatta, recently undertook a survey of participants and the findings underscore the importance of the event to the local economy.
“Samui Regatta contributes significant revenues to the local economy every year. Most of the 500 or so participants come from overseas to compete and have high disposable incomes. The majority stay for 7-10 days during the regatta and our research shows that spend on food and accommodation only, is a minimum of 5,000THB/ person/ day. This does not include spend on flights, travel around the island, and other lifestyle and entertainment expenditure,” said Ms. Kae Wattana, Managing Director of organisers Regattas Asia.
The survey's findings are for the regatta period only and do not take into account holiday time either side of the regatta and return visits to Samui during the year.
In addition to being a tourism destination known worldwide for its natural beauty, island culture and delicious cuisine, Samui Island has built a reputation as being a leading yachting destination in the region.
“Samui Island is one of the top tourism and yachting destinations in Asia. We have organised Samui Regatta for 15 years and each year we se the number of yachts that come to the island is growing. I believe this growth will continue as more and more people experience the beauty of Samui and the unmatched sailing it has to offer,” commented Ms. Wattana.
“This year we will again have a spectator boat at Samui Regatta which members of the public and tourists can join to experience the event and learn more about yachting. Our aim is bring the event and yachting closer to people, to increase people's understanding of yachting, and to attract more visitors to Samui Island,” added Ms. Wattana.
Samui Regatta consists of five days of racing and six nights of parties, including daily prize-givings on the beach and a lavish Gala Dinner hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui on the final night. The spectator boat costs 800THB/ person/ day (contact Miss Emily +66 (0) 83 638 2966) and tickets are available for the daily prize-givings at 1,000THB/ person/ night (contact Miss Lily +66 (0) 98 269 8735) and for the Gala Dinner at 2,5000THB/ person (contact Miss Katreeya +66 (0) 94 159 4926).
The 16th Samui Regatta will take place 20th to 27th May, 2017 headquartered at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui and is the season-ending event in the AsianYachting Grand Prix championship. The regatta is organised by Regattas Asia in conjunction with the Samui Yacht Club Regatta, under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Municipal of Koh Samui and the Sports Authority of Thailand.