Leading the way was Sukkho Cultural Spa, meekly located on Chao Fa West Rd in Wichit, entering the TAT’s “Hall of Fame” with an Excellence Award for Best Day Spa in Southern Thailand.
Health tourism was Phuket’s strongest showing in the national awards, with Banyan Tree Spa Phuket, at the Banyan Tree Hotel Spa Sanctuary at the Laguna Phuket resort complex in Cherng Talay, receiving an “Outstanding Award” in the national contest for the best “Destination Spa” in the country.
In Balance Spa by Novotel Phuket Vintage Park won an “Outstanding Award” for “Best Hotel & Resort Spa” in Southern Thailand, while Wareerak Hot Spring Retreat Spa in Krabi also won an “Outstanding Award” in the “Thai Wisdom Spa” category for Southern Thailand.
In the battle of the hotels, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa at Mai Khao won an Excellence Award in the best Tourist Accommodation “Resort Hotel 80 rooms or up” category for Southern Thailand, while Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa in Patong and Ao Nang Villa Resort in Krabi both received “Outstanding Awards” in the “Resort Hotel 80 rooms or up” contest for Southern Thailand.
Recognising the critical role of tour operators, the panel of judges awarded Phuket’s Sea Bees Diving Co Ltd an “Outstanding Award” for best “One Day Diving Program” in the “Tour Program for foreign tourist” in Southern Thailand category, an accolade also awarded to Phuket’s long-standing Siam Safari Nature Tour Co Ltd for best “4 in 1 Half day Safari” in the South.
Holger Schwab, owner and Managing Director of Sea Bees Diving Phuket, noted the high honour bestowed on his company by receiving the award.
“To receive this acknowledgement not just once, but twice now, is a great privilege for us. And with other businesses from Phuket being acknowledged, it is a great showcase for the island,” he told The Phuket News.
Even Phang Nga scored an award, with Andaman Discovery Co Ltd receiving an “Excellence Award” for the best “Lifestyle, Cultural, Nature of Andaman Tour Program for foreign tourist” in Southern Thailand.
Phuket Old Town was bestowed as award for best History and Culture Tourist Attraction in the South, while the Flying Hanuman zipline and jungle adventure camp in Kathu won the best Southern Region Recreational Tourist Attraction.
The Krabi Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) won the Southern region award for best government organization in the Tourism Support and Promotion Organisation category, while the Ao Luk Community Tourism Network in Krabi won the Southern region award as the best private organization in the same category.
The awards were handed out at a dazzling ceremony at the Impact Muang Thong Thani, with 117 Thai enterprises conferred the kingdom’s top tourism awards in recognition of their contribution to upgrading the quality, professionalism and service standards of Thailand’s largest foreign exchange generating economic sector.
Ranging from spas to homestays, community-based tourism associations to national parks and animal protection institutions, the winners of the Thailand Tourism Awards were specifically judged on the criteria of highlighting Thai culture, protecting the environment and contributing to society.
The vast majority of them, especially the hotels and tour operators, were small- and medium-sized enterprises, owned and operated by Thais. All of them were geographically distributed nationwide.
The full list of six award categories this year comprised:
- Hall of Fame (7 Awards)
- Tourism Support and Promotion Organisation (14 Awards)
- Tourist Attractions (13 Awards of Excellence and 31 Outstanding Awards)
- Tourist Accommodation (7 Awards of Excellence and 8 Outstanding Awards) 5.
- Health Tourism (9 Awards of Excellence, 10 Outstanding Awards) 6.
- Tour Program (6 Awards for Excellence and 12 Outstanding Awards)
Seven Hall of Fame awards were bestowed as follows:
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Awards for Tourist Attractions – Siam Niramit, Bangkok
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Recreational Attractions – Suphattra Land, Rayong
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Recreational Attractions, Lampang – National Elephant Institute of Thailand
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Recreational Attractions, Chonburi – Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Hotel and Resort Spa – Six Senses Spa Samui
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Destination Spa – Tao Garden Health Spa and Resort.
- Hall of Fame: Award of Excellence, Day Spa – Sukko Cultural Spa, Phuket