The annual non-profit Phuket Hotels Association Absolutely Fabulous Online Travel Sale is now up and running. CLICK
With nearly 200 hotel travel and dining deals across Thailand, Asia the globe, all proceeds go to the education scholarship fund of PHA. Over 45 Thai hospitality students are now supported by the fund and these are the future bright lights of Thailand’s hotel industry.
Bid or Buy right now and help us, help these amazing kids.
C9 Hotelworks continues to support hospitality education as a key resource and understands it’s about people and not just products.
The resort island of Bali continues to be one of the world’s most desired holiday destinations. Over the past three decades, its resort real estate market has continued to evolve and change. Though, for branded residences, both in the lead-up and period after the global pandemic it has lagged behind other key Southeast Asian leisure markets such as Thailand and Vietnam.
Reflecting on legacy, economic transmigration, and the Zoom Boom, C9 Hotelworks has taken a dive with their new joint report with Horwath HTL titled Bali Hotel and Branded Residences 2023 report. To read and download the report CLICK
Be Well Medical Center is set to open a new facility in Blue Tree Phuket.
The Be Well brand has established an operation in Hua Hin already, it will be family oriented and serve the growing nearby Cherngtalay, Laguna, Layan, Surin, and Thalang areas.
Limited emergency care will be available and will be open daily.
With a rising population in Phuket and growth in real estate and tourism, accessible quality medical care is a key demand driver, close to nearby growing residential and tourism areas.
While Thailand’s hotel and tourism recovery is moving forward at a faster-than-expected pace, the country’s acute hospitality staff shortage continues to worsen by the day. In what can best be termed a ‘people business’, hotel owners and operators and wondering where have all the people gone. It’s a worrisome trend and is only going to get worse as mass tourism returns.
Traditionally, Thailand’s hotel industry has seen an ever-growing population providing a steady stream of new, young workers flooding into the sector. But now a perfect storm in a post-COVID world where fresh school graduates are increasingly attracted to newer business sectors and the impact of technology has pushed the service sector lower and lower in terms of career preferences. The TikTok and Instagram generation often voices out that hospitality is just too hands-on and time-consuming a vocation.
That said, one of the most significant additions to Thailand’s hospitality workforce comes at the other end of the age spectrum, older part-time workers. According to newly released data from Kasikorn Research Center, the country is forecasted to be a super-aged society by 2029. The super-aged population classification means over 20% of the population is 65 and over. This comes at a time when the country has registered a steady decline in newborn children and adolescents for the past consecutive three years (2020-2022).Something has to give, and declining younger additions to the workforce are set to continue in the years ahead. With Thailand’s retirement age set at 60, an unrelenting number of older aged workers are being asked to retire or opting to, back of a refined labor code provision. But what happens next? Economic pressure, lack of access to quality medical care, and just plain boredom are increasingly pushing older Thais to seek a return to work.
One pitfall of hotels in Thailand and across Asia for that matter is an outright obsession with young workers and fresh graduates. The industry has done little in terms of valuing rich and diverse life experience and all too often view age as a financial and organizational liability. But with the stark reality of mounting staff shortages, it’s become a call to action for the hospitality sector to tap into new demographics.
A start-up group that is embracing this change and tapping into the pool of older human resources is the online part-time workplace SAIJAI.IO. Its journey has grown from providing homecare throughout Thailand with maids, babysitters, maintenance, pet care, divers, and tutors and now sprouted wings with a hospitality solution for hotels, condominiums and villas, and restaurants.
Speaking to SAIJAI’s Founder Viona Zhang, who talks passionately about how the platform aims to harness the potential of older workers, she says “The hospitality industry needs to realign its single-minded focus on training young staff who are just entering the workplace into a longer-term vision of life-learning. This includes reskilling older individuals who have not worked in hotels before and attracting a growing base of part-time resources.
We have seen a regime where hotels continue a short-sided approach by commoditizing contractual part-time staff with low wages, no benefits, and no training. The sad thing is so many older workers have been excluded from participating in the sharing economy. We are set to change this and a key value of SAIJAI remains its social mission in providing livelihood, access to low-cost medical insurance, and life-learning opportunities.”
Taking a final look at the super-aged phenomenon, inside the numbers, the most pragmatic way forward for Thailand and other countries facing this transition is that it’s not a matter of raising the legal retirement age or necessarily keeping older employees in the same job. What’s important is offering an alternative solution such as part-time work, that both utilize those with life experience and offers an economic benefit, along with extending the individual learning journey to the old and not just the young.
Thai-listed real estate group World Corporation has acquired a 52 rai site in Patong Phuket for a mixed-use hospitality development named The Forest by YOO.
The project will feature a hotel with 432 rooms and 131 luxury villas and is set to open by 2026.
A management deal has been inked with La Vie Hotels and Resorts as white-label operators for the YOO2 Hotel and YOO villas.
In a notice to the Thailand Stock Exchange (SET) World Corporation received approval for the land acquisition of 52 rai (8.3 hectares) for THB1.8 billion.
Over the past week, we have been compiling our latest hospitality, tourism, and hotel research on Thailand’s second-largest island, Koh Samui. The island remains a bit of a ‘little-big’ anomaly in Southeast Asia’s massive resort island arsenal. Despite hosting famed global hotel brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, W, InterContinental, and Banyan Tree, its smallish private airport capacity has somehow created a natural barrier to mass tourism in the development-crazed last 25 years.
Looking at the tourism recovery trajectory in our newly released Samui Hotel Market Update 2023, the best word I could use for growth was the impish term ‘moderate.’ No, the island has not broken into a full sweat, but looking at the mounting hotel room night demand in Q4 of last year and into the first quarter of 2023, there are positive signs of momentum.
One of the most important pieces of recovery news is the re-starting of direct flights between Hong Kong and Koh Samui by Bangkok Airways starting the 1st of July. Three weekly flights are set, using an Airbus A319 aircraft. Mainland China flights are also on the books for May which is another strong positive. And for hotels, room night demand has been rising at a great pace this year.
But, this is the conundrum, the destination has limited low-cost airline access, with limited numbers coming from the mainland’s Surat Thani airport and then taking a ferry. While other Thai resort destinations such as Phuket and Pattaya hotels have been on a sharp incline upward, Koh Samui’s return to normal continues to be slower and at a more protracted pace
But my point here is, maybe that’s okay. As fast-growing resort islands across Asia grapple with high population growth, traffic woes, and broken infrastructure, perhaps Koh Samui’s airport-imposed limitation is not entirely a bad thing. Smaller can often be better and chasing the endless tail of growth is not the right recipe for every destination.
One of the niche tourism segments that the island has maintained over the years is wellness. The Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa remain one of Asia’s best-in-class offerings. Rumored to be expanding their current operation with additional land, we can’t wait to see what’s in store next for this icon.
Another health and wellness product, Vikasa attracts a global audience with its yoga training and in-house programs. They have been successful enough to tap into investment from the Alta Capital private equity group and are in the process of expanding to other regional markets.
The bottom line for health, wellness, and fitness travel is how sustainable the marketplace is given a high return guest profile, exceptional in-house spending at a time when hotels are losing traffic to outside restaurants, and most importantly a longer average length of stay. Why the latter is important for smaller destinations where typical regional tourists may spend 2-3 nights on a short break at the beach, while program-driven travelers may stay 5-7 nights, hence requiring less flight frequency.
Moving off of Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan which is famed for its epic Full Moon Party, has continued to attract more spiritual-oriented travelers, looking for meditation, spiritual connections, healthy eating, and a like-minded social scene. Again, this is a very specific demographic, but not every destination has to cover tourism in an A-Z travelers cookbook.
As for the idea of how to battle a surge in resort island urbanization that has plagued mass-market destinations such as Bali, Phuket, and Boracay, there is a lot to be said for sharing the business with other nearby locations. Take the Surat Thani mainland and Nakhon Si Thammarat with stunning white sand tropical beaches in Sichon and Khanom and other coastal areas. Plus, there are two large-scale airports in both of these provinces that have growth capacity and offer access to larger jet aircraft.
Real estate in Koh Samui at the higher pricing points is mainly villas and the island has seen two decades of growth with an impressive array of products. Villa rentals continue to attract the luxury market and create an attractive alternative to hotels. One trend in other Thai leisure destinations that the island has avoided is a build-up of midrise condominium hotels (often referred to as condotels), with the local government pushing back on these types of developments. Often relegated to low-rate mass travel and many times unlicensed, their absence is not altogether unwelcomed.
But many island businesses are of the opinion that the failure to expand the existing airport and the lack of a new site with a longer runway remains a blight on the economy. Late last year the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Expat) announced plans for a feasibility study to link Koh Samui and the mainland, via Khanom in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Whether the island needs a bridge or not, many think the money would be better spent in rehabilitating the existing aging infrastructure.
At the end of the day, the old adage ‘Be careful what you wish for, as someday it may come true”, is a telling comment, and in Koh Samui’s case, staying small might be but the best wish of all.
According to C9 Hotelworks new Phuket Hotel Market Update 2023, the resort island’s tourism recovery has accelerated over the past six months. With the removal of Thailand’s pandemic travel restrictions in 2022, airlift quickly ramped up as India and Malaysia were key early source markets.
Over the current winter season aside from the return of the traditional ‘snowbird’ market from Northern Europe and Scandinavia, an influx of Eastern European travelers including those from Russia has spiked demand. Room rates have soared and average stay (ALOS) increased.
Looking ahead at the remainder of 2023, we are looking at a balanced recovery led by the Chinese market. For China, July and August along with National Day holidays in October look to play into a methodical build-up of traffic as airlift returns.
We expect a return to 2019 trading by the year-end of this year and the start of a new tourism cycle in 2024.
To read and download the full report CLICK
Phuket’s hotel brand conversion trend is continuing, with the latest move having Radisson sign a deal for a 390-room hotel in Patong.
Owned by the Destination Group, the property will be branded as a Radisson.
This is the fourth recent conversion by Destination with one more Radisson and two Holiday Inns by IHG.
Expect more changes in brands on the island this year, as owners look to maximize revenue in the current tourism upcycle.
One of Phuket’s largest hotels, the 662-room Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort has been reflagged under ACCOR’s Pullman brand.
The hotel, which will be named Pullman Phuket Arcadia Karon Beach Resort will operate as a Pullman effectively in April of this year, and a staggered 24-month refurbishment program undertaken.
With this addition, there will be three Pullmans on the resort island.
ACCOR remains busy in Thailand with another new conversion in Bangkok of the Grand Mercure
Bangkok Windsor to Fairmont Bangkok Sukhumvit featuring 419-room. AWC (Asset World Corporation) acquired the property last year.