The second part of our feature on sports tourism in Prachuap Khiri Khan focuses on economic contributions, infrastructure, future plans, and the impact of this emerging industry on local businesses and communities.
Hua Hin and the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan has quickly emerged as a hotspot for sports tourism. Events like the WTA Thailand Open 2023 and World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony, coupled with numerous marathons, golf tournaments, and beach sports, have spotlighted the area’s growing prowess in this tourism sector. The revenue generated by sports tourism in this province is substantial, with sport tourists spending an impressive 3-4 times more per person than average tourists.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Archawan Kongkanant, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan office, we delved into the details of sports tourism’s importance to the region.
Economic contributions and infrastructure
According to Mr. Archawan, the rise of sports tourism has played a significant role in the province’s economic prosperity. Hosting national, regional, and international sporting events and tourism activities has led to an increase in overall income, long-term income generation, and the creation of numerous jobs.
“We’ve seen the economic opportunities and the distribution of income spread across various districts in Prachuap Khiri Khan,” says Mr. Archawan. “Athletes, participants, and spectators alike are choosing to stay at local hotels, stimulating economic activity for local business owners.”
A part of this growth can be attributed to the development of facilities for participants. Infrastructure for sporting events and other attractions has been significantly expanded. After a race or event, these developments transform into lasting facilities for tourism, benefiting locals and future visitors alike.
However, Mr. Archawan emphasized the need for further improvements. “The design of the sports stadium area, access to tourist destinations, and accommodation for elderly and disabled visitors are all crucial and need further development,” he said.
The future of sports tourism
When asked about the future of sports tourism in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Mr. Archawan was optimistic. “Our focus is on high-value tourism, providing customers with happiness and satisfaction through participation in sports tourism activities,” he said.
He views sports tourism as a cornerstone for the development of travel experiences that add value to visitors’ experiences.
Several factors contribute to the province’s bright future in sports tourism. Among them are the variety of natural tourism resources, readiness of land, sea, and air transportation systems, quality standards for event venues, and the growth in the number of hotels and rooms.
Looking ahead, the province plans to diversify travel experiences to accommodate various preferences and needs. One notable aspect of this is the opening of the double-track train from Bangkok to Chumphon through Prachuap Khiri Khan, which will help to make the region more accessible. Expansion of eateries, coffee shops, and bakeries also hints at a new beginning for start-up business owners.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan Office is designing the promotion of sports tourism, drawing sports travelers, admirers, and followers to the region.
Demographics and spending power
The sports tourism industry in Prachuap Khiri Khan supports local business owners and other industries both directly and indirectly. With spending and economic growth tied intrinsically to sports tourism, the influx of sports tourists often translates into a lucrative opportunity for local businesses, especially those dealing with lodging, dining, and travel agencies.
The types of sporting activities popular in the region are also quite diverse, including golf, canoeing, yoga, fishing, skating, surfing, and triathlon competitions. Such variety further enhances the region’s appeal for tourists with different sporting interests.
Sports tourism is not just a passing trend for Prachuap Khiri Khan.
It is a thriving and multifaceted aspect of tourism that has bolstered the local economy, enriched community life, and paved the way for a sustainable and promising future.
The region is now considered one of Thailand’s prime destinations for sports tourism.