Exclusive Dedicated TravelManagers Phuket Famil
As a holiday destination, Phuket ticks many boxes, including lovely beaches, great shopping and fantastic dining and nightlife. When five Western Australia-based personal travel managers (PTMs) were invited to participate in a week-long famil to Phuket, for some it was a chance to become reacquainted with an old favourite, while for others it was time to find out first-hand what makes the island such a popular choice.
The famil participants flew to Phuket with Thai Airways, and with an evening arrival on the island, were happy to be whisked directly to Merlin Beach’s Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, where they had much of the next day free in which to enjoy the resort’s facilities and indulge in a little retail therapy in the nearby town of Patong.
PTM Kelly Savka, who is representative for Balga, WA, says although it was not her first visit to Phuket, she welcomed the opportunity to refresh her memory and find out what had changed since her last visit.
“Getting an understanding of hotel locations and their ease of access to shopping, restaurants and spas was very useful,” she explains. “It was also valuable to refresh my understanding of finer details such as local food and transportation, as this sort of information is great to pass on to my clients.”
Getting to know the island’s layout was also useful for PTM, Rachel Banks, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Broadwater, WA.
“I had never been to Phuket before, but I now have a clear understanding of what the different areas offer,” she says. “I can explain to clients where to find the best beaches, shopping and nightlife, and can explain the main differences between Patong, Karon, Kata, Bang Tao Bay, and Cape Panwa, which are all so very different.”
The group’s itinerary saw them visit hotels and resorts across the island, from Cape Panwa in the southeast to Bang Tao Bay in the northwest, but for many, the main highlight was the chance to visit the Elephant Retirement Park in central Phuket.
“The park is a place where elephants are allowed to just be elephants,” Savka explains. “They’re rescued animals, each with their own story, and being able to feed them, wash them and swim with them was amazing.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the group’s visit to the Elephant Park reflects a growing demand among clients for ethical travel experiences.
“Phuket has seen a lot of changes over the past decade in terms of responsible and ethical animal encounters, so it’s great for our PTMs to have had the chance to see for themselves what’s on offer.”
PTM Sally Seward, who is representative for Cottesloe, WA, returned home with another recommendation for clients who are planning a holiday in Phuket: “Treat yourself to a massage every day!”
“There are various options, ranging from the more expensive but utterly indulgent treatments available at the hotels’ spa facilities, to excellent beach massages and very affordable massages in the towns.”
The week-long famil concluded an overnight stay and hosted dinner at Angsana Laguna, followed by a day at leisure to enjoy the resort’s facilities prior to the group’s departure.
“I would definitely travel to Phuket again – I really loved it and think my family would too,” reports Banks. “It’s a destination that really has something for everyone – golfers, seniors, families, couples and honeymooners.”