Phang-nga Province, Southern Thailand – The idyllic Andaman Coast province of Phang Nga has successfully hosted the “L’Etape Thailand by Tour de France 2019” for the second consecutive year, generating more than 250 million Baht for the country.
The 27 October world-class cycling festival was supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Phang Nga Province, Sports Authority of Thailand, Thai Cycling Association, Bangkok Airways and Move Asia Co., Ltd.
It saw a turnout of over 300 overseas cyclists including many recognised stars; such as, Cadel Evans, an Australian Tour de France 2011 Champion and World Champion 2009. It also attracted more than 2,000 fans and spectators.
Based on the well-known “Tour de France” annual bicycling championship, the “L’Etape Thailand by Tour de France 2019” covered two route options: 159 kilometres, and 70 kilometres. The starting point was at Khao Lak in front of the Tsunami Memorial and the ending point was at Takua Pa. The highland topography and low level of road traffic offered the perfect combination for a cycling race, somewhat similar to the geographical features of the counterpart race in France.
The actual race was preceded by numerous welcoming activities and events during 25-26 October, including the Tour de France museum exhibition, bicycle trade show, sponsor activity booths, bicycle inspection services, bicycle workshop, etc. Details are available at www.facebook.com/letapethailand and www.letapethailand.com
Organising the cycling festival in Phang Nga province was in line with the 20-year national development strategy that emphasises generating a fair and balanced distribution of income and jobs nationwide based on the concept of responsible and sustainable tourism.
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications (above photo), said “L’Etape Thailand by Tour de France is a wonderful combination of exercise, health and tourism. The track runs through some of the most scenic parts of Phang Nga province. In addition, it also promote sports tourism policies that stimulate the Thai economy and local communities as well as publicises Thai tourism through various media both domestically and internationally.
“It enhances the awareness of the “Amazing Thailand” campaign, resulting in the brand being widely known, which will boost tourist revenue in 2019,” he said.
Located 788 kilometres south of Bangkok, Phang Nga is well endowed with lush green mountains and forests, the most prominent of which is Khao Chang, so named because it resembles the shape of a crouching elephant – the symbol of the province.
Phang Nga Bay National Park, a geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns, and startling rock formations, is extremely sheltered and therefore ideal for sea kayak expeditions through the many fascinating caverns and islands.
In addition to the spectacular underwater scenery attracts which attracts divers from around the world, the province is also home to the Similan Islands and Ko Tapu (James Bond Island), where the film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ was shot. The islands of Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai feature laidback communities that allow for cultural homestay experiences.