Thailand’s resort island of Samui is benefiting from “mounting airlift” which is positively impacting hotel occupancy levels.
During the first six months of 2016 year-on-year international arrivals grew by 18%, as the airport hosted 624,914 incoming passengers from both overseas and domestic flights.
As has been seen in other Thai markets, China led the pack with a 26% rise versus the same period in 2015, while Australian visitor numbers rose by 21%.
According to C9 Hotelworks’ new report, passenger growth is reflected in additional flights mainly from Singapore and Malaysia and from within Thailand.
C9’s Bill Barnett said: “We are closely looking at the current EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) process for Samui International Airport to increase daily capacity from 50 to 75 flights.
“This could kick off by 2017 with a phased approach, and would generate a substantial inducement to tourism numbers.”
Meanwhile, Bangkok Airways is planning to further expand airlift from China, adding daily scheduled flights from Guangzhou and three-times weekly charter flights from Chongqing by the end of 2016. And a greater frequency of flights between Samui and Phuket will be added in the fourth quarter.
Mr Barnett said: “With Bangkok Airways’ plan to extend its coverage of Mainland China to accommodate demand in tours, we forecast a growing supply share of lower-tier hotels, which are already becoming more visible in the pipeline.”
Data from hospitality bench-marking group STR reflects a sharp rise of 7.7% in market-wide occupancy from January through August, though average room rates did not experience the same impact (less than 1%).
“Looking back over the past three years, while Samui’s hotel performance slumped in 2014 during Thailand’s political crisis, an upward trajectory has been sustained for nearly two years,” Mr Barnett said.
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