Koh Phang Ngan looking beyond Full Moon parties to more sustainable tourism
The Koh Phang Ngan Hotel and Tourism Association says the island is looking beyond its legendary full moon parties and aiming for more sustainable tourism. The association’s president, Chantana Limsuwan, says the island hopes to welcome 100,000 visitors this year, following the easing of travel restrictions. The Bangkok Post reports that the Full Moon Party on April 16, coupled with the Songkran holiday, led to a hotel occupancy rate of 85 – 90%, the highest since January. However, 30% of the island’s hotels remain closed.
Chantana says that pre-pandemic, the average hotel room rate during the Full Moon Party period was between 1,500 and 2,000 baht a night. Rooms at beachfront hotels at Haad Rin went for between 3,000 and 4,000 baht. However, she points out that the income generated was just enough to cover payroll and utility bills, due to a rise in operating costs. Once the Full Moon Party festivities ended, occupancy plunged to 20 – 30%, with room rates dropping to 30 – 50%.
The next Full Moon Party is on May 16, but Chantana says partygoers now tend to book for a shorter period, down from at least a month to around 10 – 15 days. However, hotels targeting long-stay digital nomads already have 15 – 20% advance bookings for May.
Looking beyond the Full Moon Party, officials are now in talks with tourism operators to see how they can add on extra experiences to keep people on the island. Without these, Chantana says visitors will only spend a few nights, before moving on. She is looking to Ibiza, also well-known for its nightlife and parties, for inspiration.
Koh Phang Ngan hopes to offer more in the way of beach clubs and day lounges, as well as holding more events at the legendary Haad Rin beach in an attempt to upgrade its image. She says guest safety will be paramount at such events and security guards will be on duty.
According to Chantana, the island also hopes to capitalise on its wellness facilities and the host of outdoor activities it has to offer, such as sailing and kiteboarding, and its many forests for trekking or trail running.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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