• Wed
  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 5:07am

Beauty is only a boat trip away

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am

They say you can't substitute spending time with your kids with material things, but if that thing is spending a weekend or two with a handful of Miss Universe contestants, like Dino Lalvani did, I guess the kids don't complain.


CitySeen caught up with multimillionaire Gulu Lalvani, owner of Binatone Group, to ask about his involvement with the Miss Universe Pageant held in Bangkok last week.


'The tsunami was devastating to Thailand and we wanted to boost tourism by bringing over Miss Universe 2005,' says Lalvani. 'With a world-class marina and no taxes, Thailand is hoping to attract big spenders to Phuket.'


Until recently, there was a 220 per cent tax on yachts into Thailand, but Lalvani lobbied to eliminate the tax and the prime minister finally complied. 'I told him, you waive taxes and I'll spend US$150 million to build this marina.'


The contestants spent a lot of time at the Royal Phuket Marina. They lounged around on the Lalvani yacht (on which they are pictured), Divia II (named after his daughter), while his bachelor son, Dino, played the gracious host.


Miss Canada was crowned winner, but according to Lalvani some contestants had so much fun they came back for more last weekend. 'When Dino heard the girls were coming back, he cancelled everything,' laughed Lalvani. When CitySeen asked if a certain contestant stood out more than the rest, Lalvani played it safe, saying they were all friendly.


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