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A loss for Bangkok is a gain for Samui and Phuket

C9 Hotelworks, a Phuket based hospitality consulting firm have said that both Samui and Phuket have seen a sharp increase in direct flights during the political crisis in Bangkok. The company’s managing director, Bill Barnett said that international arrivals in Phuket rose 26% to 3.25 million and Samui 37% to 1.7 million last year, even though the protests did not start in Bangkok until late October.  Chinese and Russian tourists made up a substantial part of those numbers.

samuiInternational arrivals to Bali saw a 9% increase to 3.5 million in 2013, the increase largely due to a massive increase in hotel rooms, something that has caused the industry concerns about over supply.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post Mr Barnett said Bali is a key rival of Phuket. He said June 30, 2013 was the first time the spread of foreign arrivals for Phuket and Bali narrowed after five straight years of strong growth for Phuket During the first six months of last year, Phuket’s foreign arrivals rose 30% year-on-year to about 1.7 million, only 80,000 fewer than Bali. The occupancy rate in Phuket was 74% last year, while it 73% in Samui. The latter saw a record high of 1.7 million visitors last year, with 88% from overseas. C9 Hotelworks research pinpointed air travel as the main component of sustainable tourism growth to Thailand’s resort markets. The limitation of Samui’s private airport capacity has been bypassed with a nearby international airport at Surat Thani.

Over the past two years, annualised passenger arrivals there grew by 38% and 32%, boosted by a combination of domestic and direct overseas flights. “Feedback from hotels remains positive, given the the dynamics of the shorter-term booking horizon. Trading trends have shown the potential to claw back any lost business due to external events within a compressed time period,” he said.

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