The news comes via the latest “Khao Lak Market Report June 2018” released today by hotel consultancy C9 Hotelworks.
Among the current trends for Phang Nga, and specifically the tourist haven of Khao Lak, is that as of February 2018 market-wide occupancy registered 77% as average rates hit B4,100 as the Khao Lak hotels tend to focus on occupancy to grow RevPAR versus rate yields, noted the report.
“Western European visitors typically are the main market feeder for Khao Lak, accounting for 65% of total international guests, while there is increasing demand in the MICE segment which comprises weddings from Europe, India, and Australia together with incentives from Singapore and Hong Kong,” the report added.
Looking toward future development to drive tourism in the area is that Phang Nga’s development plans through 2021 include a four-lane motorway from Ranong, light rail from Tha Noon to Phuket, and cruise ship port expansion at Thap Lamu.
“The approved investment budget for key provincial infrastructure projects is targeted at B24 billion,” the report revealed.
“There are five projects and one hotel extension in the pipeline, totalling 1,347 keys. International chain hotels are rising with three branded properties in the planning stage,” it added.
Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, explained, “Given the distance to Phuket Airport, wholesale travel agents have been powerful in driving demand to the Khao Lak tourism market. They have been able to market the destination by providing one-stop services for guests by arranging their accommodation, transportation, and activities under single packages.
“Traditionally, wholesale travel agents especially those from the European and Australian markets are key providers. However, the number of free independent travellers (FITs) booking directly to hotels and online travel agents (OTAs) has significantly grown in the past few years,” he added.
“Therefore, this trend is becoming key to hotels seeing a slow migration from traditional wholesalers to OTAs and in effect, this is impacting seasonal trends with higher occupancy in low months,” Mr Barnett said.
“Without a doubt the biggest game changer looking forward is the plan for a B60 billion airport in Khok Kloi, Phang Nga. If it materialises, the travel time to the Khao Lak tourism area will be reduced to approximately one hour and will in effect create a far broader mainstream tourism market.”
Among the demand indicators the report notes, “Due to increasing airlift at the gateway Phuket International Airport in both the short- and long-haul source markets, 2017 was a record-breaking year for total visitor arrivals at 4,699,018 with a five-year CAGR surge of 24%.”
To read the full report, click here.