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Koh Samui Hotel Occupancy Rates Soar to Historic Highs, Reveals Industry Report

SAMUI, THAILAND: The tide has turned positively for tourism in Koh Samui as the Thailand resort destination racked up an all-time high island-wide occupancy of 68% for the full year 2012. As to what exactly is driving the trend? New direct international routes and aircraft upgrades saw year-on-year growth in occupied hotel room nights rise by 9%, according to a new market update released by consulting firm C9 Hotelworks.

C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “Hot on the heels of a rising Asian middle class and the resurgence of a prolific group travel segment is the trend of Thailand’s resort markets becoming urbanized playgrounds. It’s not just about the beach anymore as shopping and attractions are gaining momentum as strong demand catalysts.”

To download the full report, please click here.

A key catalyst of change in trading conditions has been Bangkok Airways’ ongoing upgrade of its fleet which has had a domino effect in providing more than 189,000 additional airline seats for Koh Samui travellers.

One leading economic indicator which C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett singles out as “transformational” is the 48,000 square meter land parcel which is being developed by the Thai-listed Central Group for a massive retail shopping complex in the tourism area of Chaweng.

While a gradual shift of demand is seeing more Asian visitors and families, the top three source markets were Germany, the U.K. and Thailand which contribute a combined 27% share. Rising fast on the horizon are Russian travellers. Using nearby Phuket as a trend of things to come, last year 15% of total visitor arrivals were from the emerging nation.

While the near term outlook for Koh Samui is boosted by a relatively small forward hotel pipeline of only 459 new rooms which will be added into the island’s present total inventory of 17,479 over the next two years. Local industry leaders remained tuned into Bangkok Airways’ efforts to raise the environmental restriction on the daily flights to 50.

Together with the report, C9 Hotelworks have also released an innovative YouTube video “Samui Tourism Update 2013”, which combines visits to some of the island’s leading hotels including the Four Seasons Samui, W Retreat Koh Samui, InterContinential Baan Taling Ngam, Conrad and The Library, along with an analysis of trends by C9’s Mr Barnett.

To watch the video, please click the thumbnail opposite or click here.

Commenting on the report’s findings Mr Barnett added: “As Koh Samui’s primary air carrier is continuing to modernise its fleet with new Airbuses, and phase out older ATR 72 propeller planes which are helping hotels fill beds, the ominous restriction on total daily flights at 36 is a non-moving ceiling which even Bruce Lee could not punch through. Authorities simply must come face-to-face with the inevitable decision to reach a practical solution for sustainable growth for the destination’s rice bowl.”

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