The Southern Thai resort area of Krabi once flip-flopped between a regimented high season catering to winter escapees from Scandinavia and Europe to a low season during which many hotels scrapped breakfast buffets.
Now, according to a newly released report by C9 Hotelworks, Krabi Hotel Market Update 2016, increasing air connectivity is edging the market towards a year-round destination.
Between 2014 and 2015, arriving passengers grew by a whopping 45%. At the mid-year point in 2016 year-on-year arrivals were 13% but are expected to grow with the upcoming bumper season just around the corner.
As for how hotels are capturing the uplift in travelers, fresh data from global hospitality giant STR has connected the dots. Data shows the jump in airlift is helping the hotel occupancy rates of international standard properties breach 70%.
C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “The emergence of an upgraded Krabi International Airport and how it has catered to regional regularly scheduled and charter flights from Mainland China and other parts of Southeast Asia is the key takeaway and has to a certain lesser degree tracked the same phenomenon as nearby Phuket.
“That said, Krabi has been able to take advantage of the expansion of the Phuket International Airport by offering attractive landing options and strong resort infrastructure. Call it Plan B. Its location has effectively offered a ‘yin’ to Phuket’s ‘yang’.”
Bill Barnett added: “Growing pains are expected when you understand that registered hotel rooms in the market are close to hitting 20,000 [and] that 70% of these new hotels are midscale and betting on a mass tourism future.
“As nearby Phuket is learning, bigger is not necessarily better in the long run,” he warned.