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Hua Hin trendy upmarket destination

Hua Hin trendy upmarket destination
Tourism operators are intensifying their efforts to transform Hua Hin into a trendy, upmarket tourist destination.
Both the Western Region chapter of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are promoting the beach town in Prachuap Khiri Khan province domestically and abroad and expect tourist arrivals to grow 10 per cent by next year.
“Hua Hin is being developed as the new trendy, boutique destination,” THA president Wasan Kittikul said yesterday.
He said that about 10 small boutique resorts were scheduled to open along the beaches around Hua Hin in the next two years. In Pra-chuap Khiri Khan province, at least three will be in Hua Hin and several in Pran Buri. Others will be in Cha-am, in neighbouring Phetchaburi province.
The association says there are 287 hotels and resorts already operating in Hua Hin and Cha-am, with a total of 11,000 rooms. Another 1,000 rooms will open this year, 30 per cent of them in “trendy” hotels. Existing boutique and trendy hotels include the AKA Resort, the Putahracsa, The Dune, the X2 Resort and Let’s Sea.
Wasan said Hua Hin received three million visitors a year, 85 per cent of them local tourists and the rest from abroad. The number of both international and local visitors is expected to grow 10 per cent next year because of the opening of lifestyle and boutique resorts.
Sasi-apha Sukontarat, executive director of the TAT’s Product Promotion Depart-ment, said the agency was promoting Hua Hin in foreign markets, particularly in Scandinavian countries, as well as in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere in Asia. It is targeting high-income tourists and niche markets, such as honeymoon couples.
Sasi-apha said new-generation tourists were searching for trendy, boutique or chic hotels, so Hua Hin could serve their needs.
The TAT and the THA have launched a hotel guide book called “New Luxury and Trendy Hotels 2008”, featuring 56 trendy hotels around Thailand. They expect the book to encourage both local and foreign tourists to visit Hua Hin throughout the year.
Wiboon Nimitrwanich, director of the TAT’s Central Region office, said the authority was talking to private-sector operators and airlines in an effort to bring chartered flights to Hua Hin.
At present, only one small airline, Siam General Aviation, operates services between Bangkok and Hua Hin. Its three daily flights are failing to meet high demand, he said.
Hotels in Hua Hin have called on all airlines to launch direct service to the area.