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PHUKET: Kata Group Resorts Thailand aims to host up to 2,000 weddings in Phuket over the next three years after forming an alliance with Travel Wedding (Beijing) to exploit the growing market of Chinese honeymooners.

The group, which owns seven hotels in Thailand, this month launched a range of wedding and honeymoon products to be exclusively promoted in China to the country’s outbound tourist market, with their China-based strategic partner Hunluhao Co, which operates Travel Wedding Beijing.

Pramookpisitt Achariyachai, Kata Group Resort’s chairman, said that China has become Thailand’s largest and fastest growing tourism market since the visa-on-arrival policy was introduced.

“We aim to solidify the group’s leading position in the wedding and honeymoon industry and make Phuket known as a must-go wedding destination,” he said.

Hunluhao’s CEO Zhang Sihua said almost half of the 12 million Chinese couples getting married each year go abroad for their honeymoons.

“China’s population is more than 1.3 billion and the wedding industry has expanded to 1.5 trillion renminbi (yuan) a year, which is 2.7 per cent of China’s GDP. More than 5 million Chinese go abroad each year to take wedding photos,” he said.

“With increasing incomes, information symmetry and rapid improvements in transportation infrastructure, foreign destinations have become an ever more popular choice for potential newlyweds,” said the CEO.

“Destination weddings, wedding dress photo shoots and honeymooning will allow Chinese couples to experience something completely different to a domestic wedding – stunning scenery, foreign cultures and a honeymoon all at the same time.

“This is the project’s core competency. Through Sino-Thai vertical integration, our products will have a leading advantage in terms of service, markets, and channels, giving us a competitive edge in the Chinese market,” he said.

Mr Pramookpisitt added that the resort chain will offer global-standard products and services especially for the Chinese market.

“This strategic cooperation with China is part of Kata Group’s strategy to differentiate products, shift into the high-end segment and penetrate deeply into the market,” said Mr Pramookpisitt.

“The group benefits from this vertical integration cooperation as it allows us to more thoroughly understand the Chinese consumer. With a united and consistent sales and marketing strategy, our coalition will raise product awareness and sales.”

— Chutharat Plerin