by Guest Writer
Over the past few months or so, we have read and noted much negativity in the world of tourism to Thailand’s most popular island of Phuket. As everyone is aware, May and June were particularly poor months for most tourism operators and hoteliers with several factors being mentioned to justify the drop which everyone is fully aware of for sure!
Questions with regards to statistics were flying around but once you actually break them down into months, nationalities and so on, we were in positive territory from January until April.
But statistics published included May and June which gave a different appearance when compared ‘year to date’. May and June were very good months for tourism to Phuket in 2018 so set a high target to reach this year.
A recent meeting here in Phuket was addressed by Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, Senator and former Minister of Tourism and Sports who advised us that the private sector should start to generate statistics locally.
Businesses based here on the island who are directly involved with tourism and can both collect and analyse statistics more clearly and objectively. Collecting data which directly affects the island will be of great help in the future and provide a more defined picture of the actual situation. After all Phuket is a unique island!
A clear example is the number of arrivals into Phuket International Airport. Figures show 60% are now FIT (independent travellers) visitors arriving into Phuket which is an increase but where are the visitors actually going after arriving? – other provinces, staying in Airbnb accommodation, homestays, private homes? There has certainly been a shift away from ‘traditional’ accommodations and some of the previously most popular locations.
It has been very positive to hear that from mid-August and especially September figures are now moving nicely with a good pick up of reservations currently on hand. For example, our resorts are now already showing ‘on the books’ figures higher than we ‘closed’ the month of September in 2018 which is very encouraging to see. Traditionally September is one of the quietest months of the year. Some of our Chinese partners have been asking for more rooms as their holiday season starts which is very positive and more traditional ‘low season’ tour operators’ supporters too.
Contracting for the coming high season has been brisk with all now completed and it is encouraging to see the continued increase in request for rooms this coming season. We have even now managed to secure contracts well into 2021 for some markets and several groups well into 2020 already secured.
It is true that some markets have consolidated their hotel/resort inventories but are confident that guest numbers will remain or even increase on previous seasons. Guest expectations and requirements too change ‘year on year’ and many tour operators welcome this to ensure they maintain their loyal customers and keep a fresh look in their brochures which encourage new visitors to come and experience Thailand.
A definite increase in family accommodation requirements has been seen in contracts this year plus hotels and resorts which have be awarded accredited environmental awards. Movement between beaches too has been seen with some of the traditional ‘round trip tours’ from Europe and Australia looking to try new beaches as their guest mix also changes.
So, time to smile again as we move nearer and nearer to the next high season plus a chance to reflect on the lows of the past months and ensure that everyone works together to welcome visitors ‘safe and sound’ and let them enjoy hassle-free and memorable holidays here in the land of smiles.
Read Part 1 of the ‘Diversity’ articles HERE.
And Part II HERE.