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Welcome to the latest Thai Road Trip episodes from C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications.

Listen to the Executive Director of Jee Teng Hospitality talk shop and what’s next. We also get out the kitchen and into the dining room handcrafted tableside food service. Check these two now –

Inside Story. A Phuket Hotel Group Takes Flight

Hail Caesar The Handcrafted Phuket Dining Experience

All eyes this week locally are on the fate of the Phuket Sandbox which remains a work in progress. The second round of local vaccinations were planned to start this week but given Thailand’s third wave it’s unclear whether the process can move on the expected timeline due to vaccinations being deployed elsewhere in needed areas.

For Phuket hotels, the current situation is a de facto lockdown given the incapacitation of the domestic travel market due to travel restrictions between provinces. Sadly, for the hotel and tourism trade, it’s extremely likely the darkest days remain in the future and not the past. Thailand’s vaccination crisis is likely to trump the sandbox model it seems.

Meanwhile, the success of Kimpton Maa-Lai at Bangkok’s Sindhorn Village has created a strong tailwind for Thai developers in the Kingdom. A second Kimpton in Koh Samui has been signed with an opening slated for the last quarter of this year. The Kimpton Koh Samui is beachfront and has 138-keys.

The Bangkok pairing of Kimpton (an IHG brand) and Kempinski at Sindhorn Village has strong positive sentiment with developers, so expect more signings and similar projects coming in different locations and destinations.

In transaction activity, a notable acquisition is Vietnam’s Fusion Hotels and Resorts takeover of Thailand’s Glow group. Grow is a midscale brand that operates in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The combined portfolio of the two brands is over 4,000 keys.

Glow’s founder Kevin Beauvais has been relocated to Vietnam in the role of CEO for Fusion. Lodgis Hospitality Holdings is funding the Fusion investment strategy and is a joint venture between Vinacapital and Warburg Pincus.

It’s Monday and time to get the inside story in these latest video episodes of Thai Road Trip from C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications:

Phuket Luxury Tourism Heads East

Covid-19 Vaccinations For Phuket Expats. What’s Next

Phuket’s Journey For Ethical Tourism

Welcome to our latest set of island video updates from C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications Thai Road Trip series. So little time and so much to see, so better start now…

Global Icon Marriott Coming To Downtown Phuket

Phuket’s Newest Sandbox Beach Bar, The Lazy Coconut

It Takes An Island. Phuket’s Road To Tourism Reopening

Eat. Grill. Repeat. Phuket’s Newest Hot Spot

One of Thailand’s best performing hotel sectors is Hua Hin. Well, let’s just say it is the best market over the past twelve months of the pandemic.

The destination is now poised to look ahead post-Covid and is looking to increase overseas airlift once the country reopens.

Aside from the current expansion of the gateway regional airport, a new private undertaking has been announced as part of a tagged “Phoenix Plan”.

The plan calls for expanded airport services including in town, digital enhancements and more targeted marketing to regional hubs.

Hua Hin’s current expansion which is underway and set to come into service in 2023, includes a longer runway, going from 2,100 meters and expanded to 3,000 to service larger aircraft. And a significant THB250-million renovation and upgrade.

Check out an insightful view of how Phuket’s tourism industry has come together and are pushing forward on a massive vaccination drive for hotels across the island. An inspiring story of how the island is working together.

Over the past week more than 70,000 people, mostly staff of Phuket hotels have been vaccinated across the island in five locations. Listen to Managing Director of Laguna Phuket Ravi Chandran speak about how the group converted a hotel ballroom at the Angsana resort and are doing everything they can do reopen Phuket for international arrivals in July.

Watch the inside story as we visit one of Phuket’s vaccination centers in the video below, from C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communication:

Making business headline news in Thailand today is the government targeting direct foreign investment aimed at high-net-worth individuals for tourism and residency.

One of the specifics mentioned is improving foreign ownership of property in the retirement segment, which will attract retirees to live in Thailand.

The initiative is part of a proactive economic plan and approved in principle but now awaiting details to be submitted to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.

This is one of the first economic stimulus measures during the pandemic which could positively impact the country’s real estate sector.

One of the best models in Asia over the past two decades to sell the property to foreigners has been the My Second Home Malaysia program.

In case you missed last week’s Thailand Tourism Forum 2021 in Bangkok we are sharing video links of the key presentations.

TTF is in it’s tenth year and is organized by C9 Hotelworks together with our industry partners in the event. We look forward to return to normal in 2022 will indeed be back next year. Please see the session links below and feel free to share.

‘The Conversation. How Can Hotels and Tourism Succeed Beyond the Pandemic?’
William E. Heinecke, Founder & Chairman, Minor International PCL
Charles Blocker, CEO, IC Partners Limited

‘Thailand Tourism Business & Economic Assessment & Outlook; NPLs to Climb.’
Pullawat Pitigraisorn, Economic Intelligence Center, Siam Commercial Bank PCL

‘Up There in the Air – Assessing Thailand’s Aviation Industry.’ 
Allan Schulte, Partner, Bain & Company

‘Inside Thailand’s Hotel Transactions and Resetting the Valuation Cycle.’
Chakkrit Chakrabandhu Na Ayudhya, Executive Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

‘Speakeasy – The Next Generation of Hotel Owners Speak Out.’
Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director-Thailand, Horwath HTL
Kulanard Kanathanavanich, Executive Director, Nu Chapter Hotels
Rachakorn Nanthavisai, General Manager, Tubkaak Boutique Resort Krabi

‘Eat, Drink, Pray – Evolution and Revolution.’
Rohit Sachdev, Managing Director, Soho Hospitality

‘People are Relevant. How HR, Talent Pools and Enterprises are Adjusting.’
Rachel Davidson, Cluster General Manager – Hilton & Doubletree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok
Christian Pucher, Senior Director of Development Asia, Hilton Worldwide

‘Innovation and Disruption for Hotels – A Think Piece.’
Catherine Monthienvichienchai, Brand Strategy Leader, QUO
Dane Halpin, Associate Strategy Director, QUO

‘More than Skin Deep. Getting Past Instagram for Thai Travelers.’
Wimintra Jangnin, Editor in Chief, Hotel Intel

The Thai government has approved in principal the Phuket Sandbox program that will allow international vaccinated tourists to visit the island without having to undergo quarantine from the beginning of July.

Starting in April through June, foreigners arriving who have been vaccinated will only have to undergo a seven day local quarantine.

Travelers to Phuket will still be required to use a contact tracing app and must stay on the island for seven days before traveling to other provinces.

The above is being applied to six tourism dependent provinces, namely Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Chonburi (Pattaya) and Surat Thani (Koh Samui) according the news sources.