Khao Lak Shifting Gears
Phuket is not the only surging tourism market in Southern Thailand.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to get up to date on the Khao Lak hospitality scene.
Over the past eighteen months a number of notable new resorts have opened up including Casa de la Flora, Sands by Katathani, Sensi Mar, Beyond, Best Western Premier Southsea, and Mai.
In 2011 there were 4,756 registered accommodation units in Khao Lak, this has now moved up to 6,334 at present.
One strong positive is the development pipeline of larger properties has now flattened with only the 338 key SENTIDO Graceland in the works, with an opening set for this coming July.
Despite being late April many of the international hotels were fully booked and hoteliers are now saying April and October are now shoulder seasons. This helps ease the pain of low season.
New emerging markets are Australian's in July and August and larger properties are seeing Chinese and Korean grounds picking up.
As for the Eastern European trend, many of the legacy wholesalers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia and the U.K. are pushing hotels not to take this segment. It's unlikely this disconnect will be sustained and more mass tourism will be headed north.
On the bright side, many hotels are pushing up rates for next high season and comments are that Khao Lak with it's absence of jet skies, beaches lined with sun lounger's and overcrowding is a welcome break from Phuket.