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The evolution of an island – Phuket’s rise and rise

Bill Barnett

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The evolution of an island – Phuket’s rise and rise | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Banyan Tree Phuket

“Thailand’s great push forward on mega-transportation projects is seeing strong dividends being paid in its tourism industry. One key example is Phuket, where passenger arrivals grew by nearly 19% in the first four month of the year at the newly upgraded and expanded international airport.”

By Bill Barnett

Why Phuket? One only has to look at the upward trajectory of low-cost carriers (LCC’s) and supercharged airlift. Underpinning the remarkable growth story is the exponential rise of Mainland China, which registered a 50% year-on-year increase, followed closely by Russia at 47%.

By the end of 2018, a record high 9.7 million passenger arrivals are expected to pass through the airport.

Direct flights to Phuket this year as of May has witnessed 23 new routes introduced to the destination with 19 being from Mainland China according to Thailand-based consulting group C9 Hotelworks latest market research. Currently there are 33 cities in China that link to the destination, door to door.

A defined shift in geographic source markets over the past ten years has experienced rising demand for non-beach centric activities. With the strong purchasing power of tourists, especially Chinese, Russians and Australians, more retail and tourism attractions are developing on the island. The changing mix of visitors is reflected in the island’s hotel performance with leading hotel data benchmarking group STR reporting that in 2018 upper midscale hotels have shown the highest demand growth of 10% compared to the same period last year.

Phuket is gradually transforming to a more urbanised holiday destination rather than a pure beach getaway. Resort-oriented retail is a rising force, with our data showing nearly 200,000 square meters of Grade A net lettable area in the pipeline.

Another spin-off of the tourism numbers is a series of impressive upcoming themed tourism attractions including Vana Nava Water Park, Blue Tree Water and Entertainment Park and Aquaria at the new Central Festival mall extension. The powerful mix of retail and tourism is most evident in the island growth belt from Kathu to an ever-expanding Patong.

Looking at the hotel sector, presently Phuket has a total of 1,744 tourist accommodation establishments with 84,427 keys as of Q1 2018, which includes both registered and unregistered properties. There are 36 new hotels in pipeline with 27 properties affiliated with international hotel brands. In addition, with the intention to attract real estate buyers, 10 upcoming mixed-use properties will a have hotel residences component, which accounts for 28% of total incoming supply.

Summing up Phuket’s pathway to sustainable growth, the announcement that the AoT (Airports of Thailand) is set to invest an estimated USD1.8 billion in a second airport just over the Sarasin Bridge in Phang Nga bodes well for fundamentals. Creating a broader Greater Phuket Tourism Triangle that includes Phang Nga Bay and the prime West Coast beach strip from Natai to Thai Muang on the mainland will bring more diversity and refresh the island’s maturing global appeal.

The evolution of an island - Phuket's rise and rise | News by The Thaiger

Read the full report from C9 Hotelworks.com HERE.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism

Greeley Pulitzer

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Asia leads the world in medical tourism | The Thaiger

Over the past ten years, Asia has become a favourite destination for medical tourism for people from around the world. Besides the white sand beaches, historic monuments and rich cultural legacy, healthcare in Asia is now a major attraction. From transplants and surgeries to dental procedures and botox, people are turning to Asia.

But what makes Asia the most popular destination? Some say lack of specialised treatments in their home countries or the affordable cost of treatment in Asia: these combined with ease of travel and lax visa rules for medical treatment have opened vast avenues for the region.

In 2017, some one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million visited Thailand. India too saw a surge from 4,27,014 medical tourists in 2016 to 4,95,056 in 2017.

Here’s a look at the top Asian countries for various medical treatments:

Thailand is popular for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Since 2003, the Thai Government has taken steps to make Thailand a global centre for medical tourism through its Centre of Excellent Health Care of Asia initiative, and now has 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals.

A 2016 WHO study revealed that medical tourists visiting Thailand were more likely to be residents of the eastern Mediterranean or south-east or south Asia. However, what makes the country a preferred destination is its world-class hospitality, highly specialised care and tailored care packages.

India is a favoured destination due to its its advanced technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments. Patients visit India not just for specialised treatment and surgeries but for routine check-ups as well.

India amended e-visa rules for 150 countries in 2016, making visa procurement easy for foreigners. India’s National Health Policy specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues visas patients’ accompanying spouses.

Singapore is a choice for patients seeking state-of-the-art facilities, well trained doctors and quality care. Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the city-state has more than 15 hospitals catering to medical tourists. Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is picking up the pace and is a preferred destination for people from other Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Of one million medical tourists who visited the country in 2017, 600,000 were from Indonesia.

According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia has set a target of at least one million medical tourists from Indonesia by 2020. Since the health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia, quality care at affordable prices lures patients from across Asia and the world.

World-famous for its beauty clinics, South Korea’s ambitions go beyond cosmetic surgery. According to the South Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 3,64,000 foreign medical tourists visited the country in 2016, including patients from Canada, the USA, UAE, China and Japan.

South Korea’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Asia and has established a niche in the medical technology industry. To promote medical tourism, the government offers a special visa to medical tourists and insurance that covers both injury and death resulting from medical treatment or procedures.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Bangkok

10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs

Greeley Pulitzer

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10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 billionaire MPs, while the poorest MP has just 5,064 baht in his bank account, according to reports from the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the 10 billionaire MPs, Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, of the Bhumjaithai Party, wife of Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat, is the richest, with declared assets of about 4.675 billion baht.

The other nine billionaire MPs are:

Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai party leader, deputy prime minister and public health minister, with 4.249 billion baht (including two planes, two boats, Buddha images worth 121 million baht and 395 million baht in bank deposits)

Bhumjaithai MP for Satun province, Mr. Piboon Ratchakitprakarn, with 2.342 billion baht

Mr. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, industry minister and Palang Pracharat MP, at 2.198 billion baht

Mr. Apichaiubon, Democrat party-list MP, with assets of 2.048 billion baht

Mr. Nataphol Teepsuwan, Palang Pracharat party-list MP and education minister, with 1.985 billion baht

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, deputy education minister and Democrat party-list MP, with 1.785 billion baht

Ms. Supamat Issarapakdi, Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who has 1.609 billion baht

Mr. Kittisak Khanasawat, Pheu, Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, with 1.529 billion baht

Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich, with 1.097 billion baht

PM’s Office Minister and Chart Pattana party-list MP Tewan Liptapallop, who has 1.03 billion baht

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has assets of about 8 million baht

Of the 500 MPs, it appears that Mr. Phisanu Polatee, Bhumjaithai, MP for Pathum Thani province, has the least assets. There was, at the time reporting, only 5,064 baht in his bank account.

Earlier, he reported that he earned 14,000 baht a month from the Provincial Administration Organization. His earnings as an MP since May totaled 829,700 baht. He said he is living in the house of his mother and the car that he has been driving belongs to a friend.

Several MPs have not yet declared their assets to the NACC’s Office, including Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Future Forward MPs Pannika Wanich and Pitha Limcharonrat.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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