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Samui prospers without low-cost airlines

Posted On 16/03/2016

P1020481-1024x768Thailand’s resort island of Samui continues to see its tourism sector grow steadily despite being excluded from a massive surge of low-cost airline flights to destinations across the country. In 2015, Samui airport’s passenger arrivals almost reached 1 million, while year-on-year growth reached 7%. But the story doesn’t stop there, as room rates across Thailand remained volatile in a year where national tourism arrivals topped 29.8 million. PrintSamui’s market-wide average room rates pushed up 12% compared to 2014. According to data from C9 Hotelworks newly released Samui Hotel Market Update. The domino impact of high rates pushed up the all important metric of RevPAR (revenue per available room) y-o-y by an impressive 15%. Samui’s privately operated airport remains a hotly contested issue with tourism stakeholders, mainly due to the exclusion of low-cost airlines. But their absence may have helped keep rates higher for the island’s hotels. Commenting on the trend, C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett said: “The systematic trigger of increasing the daily flight ceiling imposed by the government from 36 to 50 flights per day has regulated growth and has had an overall organic positive factor for the market.” Hotel supply and demand issues remain favourable and in fact the increase in flight capacity has benefited from Bangkok Airways switching a number of flights to larger Airbus A-319s instead of ATR-72’s, which has added overall seat capacity. With tourist arrivals surging, Samui’s hotels are seeing a systematic upgrading, which this year is being highlighted by the completion of a USD20 million renovation of the Santiburi Beach Resort and the reopening of the Amari in Chaweng, which was closed for a substantial make-over. Another Thai hospitality giant the TCC Group recently announced plans for an upgrade and rebranding of the Imperial Boat House to Spanish hotel chain Melia under their Sol brand. One key highlight of C9’s report is the growing significance that international chains are having on performance. Branded hotels achieved higher market-wide average daily rates (ADR) in 2015 compared to the previous year by 24%. Looking at the incoming pipeline of 14 hotels currently under development in Samui, well known groups such as Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn and AccorHotels’ Sofitel figure prominently in the island’s future landscape. Meanwhile the Samui Airport is in the early stages of study and public hearings over a USD29.2 million expansion plan.Print Print