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Warning to Khao Lak: don’t overbuild



Warning to Khao Lak: don’t overbuild | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Tourists may turn their backs on Khao Lak if the rapid development there continues, the Deputy Director of the local Tourism Authority of Thailand office has warned, while oversupply of accommodation in Phuket is leaving nearly half the island’s hotel rooms lying empty.

Napasorn Kakai told a conference on the southern economy at the Royal Phuket City Hotel on August 23 that European tourists were going to Khao Lak rather than Phuket because Phuket “isn’t as peaceful as it was”.

But, said K. Napasorn, “If Khao Lak becomes like Phuket, where will the tourists go? They will probably go to other countries instead.”

She warned of an “oversupply” of facilities in Khao Lak, where the tourist season is just four months long.

In Phuket, meanwhile, just 57% of the island’s 31,000 rooms – in 500 hotels – are occupied at any one time, she said.

“This is the oversupply situation that is happening in Phuket,” said K. Napasorn. As a result, she said, she expects investment in large hotels in Phuket to dwindle.

Despite her warning, K. Napasorn noted that Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi make an important contribution to the economy of Thailand, because of the money they attract through tourism.

Four million people visited the three Andaman provinces last year. Because of the proliferation of low-cost airlines in the region, and the rise in the number of flights serving the island, an increasing number of these visitors are Asian tourists.

Asian tourists come to Phuket for an average of five days, she said, usually for shopping. Western tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money.

Between January and July this year 2.6 million passengers arrived at Phuket International Airport, according to K. Napasorn.


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