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Tourism growth slowly returns

PHUKET: Robust passenger arrivals in the second half of 2019 highlighted by growth in Indian tourists helped rebalance the island’s tourism sector according to the C9 Hotelworks newly released Phuket Hotel Market Update.

Tuesday 7 January 2020, 04:00PM


The addition of direct flights from Mumbai, Dehli and Bengaluru propelled numbers by 298% versus the same period in the previous year, the report added.

In 2019, year-on-year passenger arrivals declined in Q1 (-4%) and Q2 (-7%) due to international economic volatility, China-US trade tensions, and a strong Thai baht. Long-haul travelers from Australia and European countries – led by Scandinavia, Germany, and Italy – shrank.

Moreover, Chinese arrivals moved into troubled territory with a negative year-on-year growth rate of -9%, said the report posted yesterday (Jan 6). (See here.)

However, passenger arrivals notably regained momentum in Q3 (3%) and Q4 (8%).

“The demand came from regional Asian feeders (led by India, Malaysia, and Singapore),” said the report.

“Overall for the year passenger arrivals in 2019 are forecasted to be similar to 2018, but punctuated by a H2 rising trend. In 2019, the total number of passenger arrivals at the Phuket International Airport is forecasted to be 9,109,487, with the December year-on-year monthly 2019 figure forecasted to be up by 8%.”

Citing recent media reports about Phuket’s hotels being half empty, C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett stated, “Current 2019 data that reflects over 9 million passenger arrivals at Phuket International Airport, and hotel occupancy levels for the year in the low 70s is contrary to the media claims which are largely unsupported by a lack of metrics.

“While 2019 saw a slight drop in occupancy, and marked reduction in average rates and RevPAR, these are mainly attributed to an appreciating Thai baht and reaction to increased competition in leisure destinations. The latter part of 2019 trending showed higher demand which is encouraging but seasonable challenges remain a key challenge.”

Looking at key hotel performance trends, the second half growth spurt in demand drove full-year market-wide occupancy to 72% according to data from STR, which is 3% lower versus the 2018.

“Rate pressure remains intense and a challenge to RevPAR; with Thai currency appreciation set to continue in 2020,” said the report.

Two key metrics that were impacted was a drop in island average rates by 6%, and the knock on impact to RevPAR that also stepped back by 10%, largely driven by lower room rates, it added.

In terms of “Trends”, the report noted:

• In 2019, the total number of passenger arrivals at the Phuket International Airport is forecasted to be 9,109,487, with the December y-o-y monthly 2019 figure forecasted to be up by 8%.

• Top 5 locations for Phuket hotel pipeline developments are Patong, Bangtao, Kamala, Nai Harn and Kathu.

• Newly opened Porto De Phuket, together with the Central Floresta and upcoming Andamanda

are all helping to position Phuket as a lifestyle, entertainment and shopping destination.

The “Forward Outlook” section of the report also suggested:

• The Phuket Light Rail System’s construction is expected to commence in Q12022 with an increased budget of THB39 billion, while the Patong-Kathu Tunnel is waiting for EIA approval.

• Phuket Sky Way, a planned tourism-oriented cable car attraction is currently under environment impact evaluation.

• In 2020, 5,009 new keys from 21 properties will enter the island hotel supply, which is a 6%

increase. The majority of future pipeline developments are in upscale and midscale tiers.

– Bill Barnett


For the full report, click here.

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Rorri_2 | 12 January 2020 - 11:47:48

Jor... bit short on thinking... no water no tourists.. very simple

Galong | 11 January 2020 - 21:03:58

How can an accurate hotel occupancy percentage be stated with the previous claim that there are over 1,000 unregistered hotels (a number which I assume was retrieved from someone's backside)?

Kurt | 10 January 2020 - 16:01:44

Well, J12 and GerryT, if you both with ostrich behavior refuse/not willing not see the link between increasing tourist numbers ( if that is true? ) and decreasing water resources, than 'defence' rest.  Later many people will tell you:  "See,... you were told before".  We all now wait and see how this water drama unfold. It is already a drama in 43 thai provinces.

Jor12 | 09 January 2020 - 16:51:46

What on earth does water resources got to do with Tourism growth? 

GerryT81 | 09 January 2020 - 14:24:49

K,is there anything you can think about except  your water paranoia ?

Kurt | 09 January 2020 - 08:27:36

Here one photo with a graphic "Hotel Suppy'.  Wish we could see in the very same graphic about the expected available water resources.

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