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 year-on-year international arrivals have grown by an impressive 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 Australians rose by 21%. According to C9 Hotelworks newly released Samui Hotel Market Update Mid-Year Edition2016, the passenger growth is reflected by a 10% spike in additional flights mainly from Singapore, Malaysia and from within Thailand.
Taking a look at the effect on hotel occupancy, data from hospitality benchmarking group STR reflects a sharp rise in market-wide occupancy of 7.7% from January through August, though average room rates did not experience the same impact as moved upward by just under 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.
Analyzing the island’s tourism sector C9 Hotelworks 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 China airlift, adding daily scheduled flights from Guangzhou and three-times weekly charter flights from Chongqing by the end of 2016. Additionally greater frequency of flights between Samui and Phuket will be added in the fourth quarter of this year.
Closing out C9’s research on Samui hotel industry, Bill Barnett says “Bangkok Airway’s plan to extend its coverage of Mainland China to accommodate demand in tour series, we forecast a growing supply share of lower-tier hotels, which are already becoming more visible in the pipeline projects.”