BANGKOK, Thailand – Organisers of Asia's largest multi-class regatta, Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina, held 30th April to 4th May 2015 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, are expecting another successful regatta and multi-million baht boost to Greater Pattaya's tourism earnings as more than 700 sailors and friends descend on Jomtien to take part in the award-winning event.
The Regatta generates more than THB40 million for the local economy over the four-day event, with surveys showing that sailors return to the country multiple times each year.
“Sports Tourism is an area in which we see a lot of growth potential for the country. Marine events attract high-spending tourists, many of which are repeat tourists coming back to Thailand throughout the year,” said Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand.
“The Gulf of Thailand's spectacular coastline makes it an ideal destination for water sports and marine leisure tourism. Organisers of the Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina have been promoting sailing in the area for many years and the Regatta attracts sailors from around the world spending approximately THB40 million each year in the Greater Pattaya economy.”
Sports tourism is one of the most dynamic sectors of Thailand's tourism industry and marine leisure tourism is leading the way attracting high-spending tourists. Boat owners who berth their boats in Thailand spend in marinas and on boat maintenance, creating jobs and providing year-round revenue giving Thailand a competitive advantage over its neighbours and making it the leader and marine leisure tourism hub of ASEAN.
Ocean Property have recently assumed full ownership of the Regatta it co-founded in 2005, further increasing its investment in marine leisure tourism on the back of launching the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show in 2012 and expansion of Ocean Marina.
“Having been awarded 'Asian Regatta of the Year' at the 2014 Asian Marine & Boating Awards, and subsequently taking full ownership of the event, we are very keen to keep the successful formula in tact. The on-water and onshore teams that have put in so much hard work over the years remain the same and we are committed to our goals of 11 years ago, namely to deliver an international-standard sailing event in the Gulf of Thailand, provide a platform to develop grass roots sailing and to promote Greater Pattaya,” said Mr. Kirati Assakul, Director of Ocean Property Co., Ltd.
The Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina has developed from a home-grown event in 2005 to become the biggest multi-class regatta in Asia today, with over 200 boats competing and 700 sailors and friends from more than 30 countries taking part annually.
“What is unique about the Top of the Gulf Regatta, and was something we instilled in the Regatta at the very beginning, is its inclusiveness. The Regatta includes a wide range of boats and sailors from under 16 year olds racing in the Optimist through to single-handed and double-handed dinghies, beach catamarans and one-design sport boats, upto the large keelboats and multihulls,” said Mr. William Gasson, Co-Chairman, Top of the Gulf Regatta Organising Committee.
Working closely with internationally-accredited race management professionals, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club,Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and Royal Thai Navy, the on-water race management on all courses is world-class.
Promoting sailing at the grass roots level in Thailand is a core tenet of the Regatta and organisers have supported the Thailand Optimist National Championships, incorporating it as part of the Regatta and providing a top-level competitive training ground for Thailand's up-and-coming youth sailing stars.
Two such Thai sailing stars who have come through the ranks and have their eyes on the 2016 Olympics in Rio are Keerati Bualong (Gold Medal at Laser National Championships 2015 (Thailand), Bronze Medal at Asian Beach Games 2014 (Thailand), Gold Medal at Asian Sailing Championships 2013 (South Korea)) and Kamolwan Chanyim (Gold Medal at Laser National Championships 2015 (Thailand), Silver Medal at Asian Beach Games 2014 (Thailand), Bronze Medal at Asian Games 2014 (South Korea)), both of which are back to defend their titles this year. Joining them are many sailors from the national team as well as the team of sailors who won the 2014 Optimist World Team Racing Championship.
Ocean Marina Yacht Club, home of the Regatta since its beginning, is the perfect host for a large regatta like Top of the Gulf. Being the largest marina in South East Asia and providing safe berthing with international-standard facilities in-water and onshore is a big attraction for regatta participants.
“The expansion of Ocean Marina in recent years means it is now the largest marina in South East Asia. We are the only marina in Thailand that can host a sailing event as large as Top of the Gulf Regatta, and providing safe berthing in a sheltered marina, combined with unrivalled onshore facilities is very important to participants and has helped to make the Regatta the success it is today,” said Mr. Kirati Assakul.
Organised by the Top of the Gulf Regatta Organising Committee under the auspices of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Platu Yacht Association, Ocean Marina Yacht Club and Royal Varuna Yacht Club, the Top of the Gulf Regatta Presented by Ocean Marina will take place 30th April to 4th May, hosted by Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien, Pattaya, Thailand.