BANGKOK Airways’ plan to expand its coverage within Mainland China to accommodate demand in tour series will lead to an increase in lower-tier hotels on Koh Samui with this already more visible in pipeline projects, Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks said recently.
This airline is awaiting approval of additional daily scheduled flights to Guangzhou and chartered flights to Chongqing which it wants to start at the end of this year mainly because Mainland Chinese arrivals continue to grow after rising 26% in the first half of this year, he said in his company’s latest research paper on this resort island.
However the steady recovery of Samui’s tourism industry in the first half of this year was mainly driven by 10% increase in flights from Singapore, Malaysia and within Thailand itself.
While there was a 24% increase in total arrivals from January to June and Asia seen to be the key feeder for air lift, the mix of hotel guests is still slanted towards Western Europeans because they represented 36% of total hotel stays last year while the total number of Australian visitors grew by 21% in this year’s first half.
Moreover Samui International Airport’s expansion is pending EIA approval to increase flight capacity of 50 flights a day to approximately 75 flights a day with the first phase expected in early 2017, Mr Barnett said.
“Phuket is the second major feeder of domestic arrivals to Samui after Bangkok and will increase scheduled flights to six per day in the fourth quarter of this year.”
The split between packaged tours and individual travelers is 39% and 61% respectively with 92% of the packaged tours and 79% fully independent travelers (FITs) coming from overseas.
Samui International Airport hosted 624,914 total passenger arrivals from both scheduled and non- scheduled flights during the first six months of this year, with passengers from domestic flights representing close to 90% of the incoming traffic.
February registered highest growth in both arrivals and inbound flights, with positive year-on-year rise of 34% and 23% respectively.
Hotel performance continues to push up after 2014 slump in both occupancy and average daily rate due to political events.
Samui currently has 556 licensed accommodation establishments with a total of 21,587 rooms. There are 1,329 new hotel rooms expected to come on-stream by 2019 from 12 pipeline projects. The highest concentration of growth is in Chaweng beach.
Supply grew by 5% last year after flatlining in 2014 with 100 new keys to be added by the end of this year.
TOP: A picture-postcard vista of popular Koh Samui. Photo: Jacky Ding (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
INSET: Mr Barnett says Samui remains popular with Western Europeans.
By Thai Residents reporters