It’s that time of year again… The 10 day Phuket Vegetarian Festival kicks off on Sunday, with officials predicting it will generate over 9 billion baht in tourism revenue. From a local cultural oddity to, now, a major tourism attraction for the island each year.
The Bangkok Post reports that the Phuket Provincial Commercial Office has confirmed vegetable prices are lower when compared to the same period last year. Woranit Apiratjirawong, director of the Phuket Commerce Office, says officials will conduct regular checks on ingredient costs, to ensure customers are not overcharged during the festival.
But, really, the ‘vegetarian’ part of the Vegetarian Festival is just a side show. It’s the parades, firecrackers, Mar Songs and fire-walkers that most people come for.
As Phuket’s low season comes to an end, the island is marking the transition to the high season by organising the vegetarian festival from October 15 to October 24. The president of the Phuket Tourist Association, Thanet Tantipiriyakit, says that while last year’s festival generated 3.4 billion baht, his office expects over 9 billion baht from this year’s event.
Of that, 20% is expected to come from accommodation bookings, 20% from the restaurant sector, and the remainder from local produce. Thanet says hotel occupancy on the island is expected to be over 70% of capacity.
The annual festival is expected to bring a significant number of visitors to the island, with both the public and private sector contributing to the accommodation and facilities on offer.
According to Thanet, some restaurants and hotels are laying on “all you can eat” vegetarian buffets, while others are offering a temporary vegetarian menu.
“Some 80% of the food available in Phuket will be vegetarian.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post