by Bill Barnett
Thailand’s idyllic Koh Phangan island is renowned globally for its marque Full Moon parties. On the heels of soaring demand for the big event, visitor numbers surpassed the one million ceiling two years ago and over a five-year period registered compound annual growth rate of 17%.
While the numbers are impressive, the reality for resorts on the ground is one of disruptive trading. Accommodation establishments are continually being forced to deal with high occupancy that often surpasses 80% in peak periods but rapidly falls off as soon as the Full Moon event tapers off each month.
According to C9 Hotelworks newly released Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao Hotel Market Update, the two islands have over 13,000 rooms and supply growth is rising at 10%. As the destination matures, the key challenge is how to diversify its market segments in order to avoid being a one-trick pony.
On tourism trends to the islands, most other Thai resort areas that are being immersed in Asia-centric mass numbers, but demand to the two islands in the Gulf of Thailand is focused on long-haul visitors from Europe, Australia and North America.
The main challenge to avoid big event syndrome and a mono market, is the dependence on nearby Koh Samui’s private gateway airport which has is experiencing challenging conditions due to high airfares and a broader lack of airline diversity servicing the sector. At the end of the day, you can’t stay there, if you can’t get there.
Aside from the numbers, C9’s research indicated that a growing number of resort owners and developers were looking at moving past the legacy segments of Full Moon Parties and diving, and tapping into wellness offerings and family-focused tourists. Despite the Koh Samui connection, nearby Surat Thani airport on the mainland is becoming a secondary point of transit to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Summing up the boom bust boom impact of the Full Moon, the reality is Thailand’s smaller resort islands are grappling with the issue of mass tourism and reality of the current tourism demand that remains seasonable and disruptive.
“Auf Wiedersehen” to overstaying German on Koh Samui
A contingent of immigration and tourist police have arrested a 49 year old German who had overstayed his visa in the kingdom on Koh Samui for 14 days. He will likely be blacklisted from re-entering Thailand for a period following his overstay.
The man, identified only as Manfred L, was taken into custody near the Bo Phut market on the ring road that encircles the island.
Naew Na news agency, always the first with Immigration stories, says the arrest was in keeping with immigration policy and that the public could call 1178 to report violators. They published a picture of the arrested man with his face hidden by a graphic saying “bye”.
We chose a pretty picture of Koh Samui instead.
SOURCES: Naew Na News | Thai Visa
Samui airport ‘spy cam’ taken offline after police raid home of British expat
FILE PHOTO: panvimanresortkohphangan.com
Police, immigration and airport authorities have closed down a ‘spy cam’ that was providing real-time video of activities at Koh Samui’s Airport.
Police headed to a house next to the Koh Samui Airport after complaints that a CCTV camera was recording take-offs and landings at the airport. The authorities deemed that the camera could pose a security risk.
The camera is one of many that give realtime views of locations on Samui for 44,600 followers on YouTube and Facebook. It is called “The Real Samui Webcam“. The live cameras provide foreigners a snapshot of what is currently going on around the holiday island.
Authorities found a 72 year old British man whose passport and work permit were all in order. He works in the “detox” industry at a health company. He told police that the camera was located on his flat roof and had been put there by a friend. Channel 3 news reports the camera is now offline. The airport authority had claimed that the camera was a risk to security as the “airport is used by many important people”.
But there are still plenty of live-streams of the Gulf island available. Looks like a nice day on Koh Samui!
Russian man and his dog found dead on Koh Samui
A 51 year old Russian man, identified as Vyacheslav Kolbunov, has been found dead at his home on Koh Samui.
A dead pit bull was also found in the room, with two other pit bulls discovered in an enclosure outside the home.
Koh Samui police and forensic officers discovered drug paraphernalia, along with a coffee cup and a glass containing brown liquid, which have been sent for testing. No signs of a struggle were found.
Mr Kolbunov’s body was found on Friday night, after neighbours called police about a foul smell coming from the property. Police believe the man and his dog had been dead for several days.
Neighbours say the Russian had lived in the house for about 10 years and got along well with people. They say he loved animals and had three pit bulls and a cat.
Forensic experts will now carry out a postmortem examination, while Livestock officials will carry out checks on the pit bull. It’s understood that Mr Kolbunov’s gardener will also be brought in for questioning.
SOURCE: The Chiang Rai Times
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