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Battle of the Brands as Koh Samui Goes Global

KOH SAMUI, THAILAND – An influx of international hotel chains to the third largest island in Thailand – Koh Samui – is setting the stage for fierce brand competition.

Well known names in the pipeline include InterContinental, Le Méridien, Conrad, Accor and Moevenpick who will all be intent on luring travellers to the destination by the end of 2011.

According to new data released by leading consulting firm C9 Hotelworks in its Samui Hotel Market Update report, five hotels managed by global operators will enter the existing supply side during the second half of this year. The destination has already experienced a surge in luxury brand penetration with properties operated by Four Seasons, Starwoods W, Banyan Tree, Six Senses and Orient Express.

Download the full report here.

Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, Bill Barnett, said the influx of new hotels and resorts is a dynamic performance indicator.

“Leading hospitality brands have been proven to induce demand into a destination and are a strong catalyst for sustainable growth,” Mr Barnett said.

“A key comparative is luxury retail where upscale shopping malls rely on anchor brands to attract upscale shoppers. Travel and retail track a strikingly similar customer driven model.”

The report also shows the island made inroads in the first half of the year, with hotels hitting an overall occupancy of 62%. This could signal that the island is getting back to business.

The Conrad Koh Samui shows a resurgence in the south of Koh Samui as the island starts to diversify tourism density. For hi-res image click here.

Airlift continues to be a primary focus as the increasing popularity of the monthly Full Moon Party on nearby Koh Phangan is drawing worldwide attention and is displacing seat capacity required for expansion of the mainstream leisure segment.

“A stalemate over the issue of a new airport shows an absolute disconnect between government policy and private sector development ambitions,” Mr Barnett added.

“We dont fault Bangkok Airways who operate the privately run facility in hampering growth due to its commercial agenda but look at the epidemic problem over the lack of a government managed long term tourism strategy.”

The recent media comments by Bangkok Airways founder Prasert Prasarttong-osoth that the airline was studying the possibility of divesting a 30% stake and possibly going into an IPO could pave the way for change on Koh Samui.

A much touted market liberalisation under the Asean Economic Community in the next four years and open skies policy in the region are being hailed by travel industry watchers as a positive move.

Writers and editors can download the following graphs from the report to illustrate their reports here:

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