Phuket looks forward to another successful Pride Week News Feed

LGBT travellers to Thailand will be delighted to learn that Phuket Loves You Club has announced the return of Phuket Pride Week from April 20 to April 27 this year.

The vibrant programme of events takes place in an array of locations across the island, and visitors of all sexual orientations are encouraged to join in with the festivities.

Launched in 1999, Phuket's Gay Festival attracts revellers from all over the world and gives a significant boost to the island's tourism at what is the end of the high season. Last year, Thailand's Tourism Authority also launched the "Go Thai. Be Free" campaign to attract LGBT travellers to the Kingdom.

"We live in a country that is open and pretty liberal – I can't think of a market that we wouldn't welcome," Wisoot Buachoom, the director of the TAT's office in Chiang Mai, was quoted as saying last year.

According to Steve Johnson, a marketing manager who oversees the TAT's LGBT tourism campaign from its New York office, gay men and lesbian women often have high levels of disposable income. In fact, Boutique, a London-based agency that specialises in gay marketing, recently revealed that Thailand was the hottest destination for LGBT travellers in 2013. Uwern Jong, the company's managing director, asserted that gay tourism accounted for some US$1.6 billion of Thailand's net tourism revenue in 2012.

This year's Phuket Pride Festival will kick off with the launch pool party at CC Hideaway, where the entertainment will include DJs, a cabaret show and bingo. This year's programme also includes a beach volleyball tournament, a trip to Raya Island, sunset beach parties and a formal gala dinner evening.

For many of those who attend Phuket Pride Week, the Grand Parade through the streets of Patong will be a highlight of the festivities. Each year, the colourful parade comprises floats and street entertainment from gay-friendly venues across the island, accompanied by dazzling costumes and lively music.

This year will be the third time that Phuket Pride Week has been organised by Phuket Loves You Club.
"We hope that we will attract even more people than we did last year, not only to have a fun week of celebrations, but also to help us to raise money for our charities," said Ian Philips, the club's chairman.
"Over the past two years we raised over THB500,000 for Phuket LGBT and HIV charities, and we hope that this year with so many events and continued support from many of last year's sponsors and exciting new ones, we will achieve our target of raising THB 1 million (US$30, 700)," he added.



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