Sitting beside the beach in Karon – one of the hardest-hit areas of the island amid the ongoing economic crisis – with the sun setting over the Andaman Sea as his backdrop, Governor Narong announced the campaign, themed “Have You Ever".
The campaign brings together local Phuket tourism businesses and government agencies working together to help restart the island’s economy.
Joining Governor Narong for the launch were were Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) President Bhummikitti Ruktaengam and Anuphap Wetwanitsanong, who is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Director of the Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor).
The PPAO was announced at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Monday (Feb 8) as now taking a proactive role in helping to launch a slew of domestic tourism campaigns to help restart Phuket’s ailing tourism industry.
Governor Narong said that Phuket today was now ready to receive tourists from all regions in the country, not noting that arrivals from Samut Sakhon must still observe a 14-day quarantine after arriving on the island, though arrivals from anywhere else in the country are not required to observe a mandatory quarantine.
Governor Narong noted, “In these times of misfortune, we in Phuket have good fortune in two things that are gifts” – namely location, and the spirit of the people living on the island.
“We previously relied on just ‘Sea Sun Sand’, but today we have unseen beaches, unseen waterfalls and canals, and various activities that everyone can do even during this period, such as planting trees and camping, which are so popular today
“The things people can do in Phuket cost very little to do. We have beautiful natural areas which are ideal for sporting activities, trail running, surfing or triathlons, and today we have surf skating, which is a current trend,” he added.
“We have a big natural studio of 543 square kilometres [the full area of Phuket island) to take pictures and shoot videos to post on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, or to hold pre-wedding and wedding events, as well as for large production events such as filming or advertising,” Governor Narong explained.
Of the people living on the island, Governor Narong added, “God gave the people who settled in Phuket are those who came with hope. They came with the real intention of having a better life.
“So there is love on this island, where the phrase "Hometown, Muang Nong" made us never give up or give in to despair. Today we still think and continue to create ideas, and the campaign ‘Have You Ever’ for all of you to see today. Although there are limitations, many obstacles, with my admiration everyone has gritted their teeth to keep going through to today,” he said.
TAT Phuket Director Ms Nanthasiri said her office was targeting social media platforms to promote travel, including posting videos on Tik Tok, which she said was an increasing trend.
“We have started making Tik Tok clips ourselves, appealing to a variety of tastes and preferences, from clips showing cooking to planting trees.
“Since late last year a new trend has become popular, the ‘Challenge’, which challenges people to do things to test their capabilities. These ‘subculture’ aspects and other little things have evolved to become pop culture today and play a part in the world’s travel trends. We will work this way, and with the campaign Have You Ever #ถึงภูเก็ตหรือยัง [arrived in Phuket yet?]’ we are on the right track,” she added.
Phuket Tourist Association President Mr Bhummikitti noted, “We will be making videos comprising 11 content stories of hidden attractions in Phuket and posting them on several social media platforms so that other people can see and want to visit Phuket as well.
“I assume that almost half of the Thai people have been to Phuket already and more than half have seen Phuket through various media, but if the place in the video can raise more questions for you, then you haven’t been to Phuket yet,” he said
The 11 content stories to be created are Klong Hin Luk Diow, tunnels of trees, Koh Pling, Banana Beach, Kamala Hills, the hidden rock pools in Kamala, Seaside Street Food Markets, Pa Hin Dam Kalim, Laem Krating, Bamboo Forest and Koh Bon, he added.
Mr Bhummikitti concluded, “The Phuket Provincial Governor insists that Phuket Province is now ready to welcome tourists from all regions to come and visit Phuket. We are ready to open up for everyone to experience something they may not have experienced before with the natural beauty revived again.”