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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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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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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Bangkok

Is it a motorcycle? Is it a delivery? Is it a taxi? No, it’s Line Man

The Thaiger

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Is it a motorcycle? Is it a delivery? Is it a taxi? No, it’s Line Man | The Thaiger

Line Man, part of the Line message App universe of services, is cutting  into other well-known brands in the Thai market by providing a variety of services, including food delivery, taxi-hailing, parcel and convenience goods. But Line is able to expand its businesses based on its already huge subscriber base in Thailand.

Lin is the most popular messaging App used in Thailand and is a subsidiary of Korean internet search giant Naver. The Line messenger app was launched in 2012 in Thailand and has grown into the leading social media platform with 44 million users, nearly two thirds of the country’s population.

Now the local unit of the company has created a unique service called Line Man. It was first launched in 2016 as a food delivery service but has now grown into a broader service delivering groceries, food, documents and packages to customers by motorcycle riders.

Line Thailand CEO Phichet Rerkpreecha says they used Bangkok’s notorious road congestion to find a business model different from their competitors.

“We were not the first to look into food delivery services but are the first to solve the problem of getting street food to customers. Traditional food delivery was back then only for restaurants, but we focused on street food,” he said.

Line Man is also used by many small companies especially in the e-commerce sector to save delivery time around the city and plans to expand to grocery services later this year.

“Beyond food delivery and parcels, Thai users have been very creative in using Line Man. We found Line Man is used to hold a table at a restaurant until customers come. At some very popular restaurants, reservations can be canceled if a client is late.”

Line Man’s food delivery business is operated in partnership with local food tech firm Wongnai, which has the largest food database in Thailand.

“The services are currently available in Bangkok and three adjunct cities. We will start operations in Pattaya City soon and plan to expand into other cities.”

Is it a motorcycle? Is it a delivery? Is it a taxi? No, it's Line Man | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Line Thailand CEO Phichet Rerkpreecha

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Insurgency

Southern insurgency suspect dies after 35 days in coma

The Thaiger

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Southern insurgency suspect dies after 35 days in coma | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Adbulloh Benjakat

Abdulloh Esor Musor, left in a coma after being interrogated at a notorious southern Thai detention centre in Pattani, died yesterday, as pressure mounts on the Thai army to release further findings of a probe into the case.

The man, a suspected insurgent allegedly tortured during his brief military custody being questioned after his arrest on July 20, died yesterday morning (Sunday).

Read the earlier Thaiger story HERE.

He was rushed, unconscious, to Pattani provincial hospital the day following his arrest and then moved to Songkhlanagarind Hospital in Songkhla, just to the north.

In a statement the hospital said that the patient was pronounced dead at 4.03am on Sunday morning. The statement claims he died from “severe pneumonia and septic shock”.

According to the statement, the condition of Abdulloh, who never regained consciousness since leaving the Ingkhayuth interrogation centre, remained comatose but stable until 48 hours ago when his condition worsened.

34 year old Abdulloh was taken into military custody after southern security officials allege he was involved in violent incidents in the south.

The military at the interrogation centre responded at the time that the suspect fell unconscious. An investigation was ordered into the incident, the result of which remains unknown.

At the time several news outlets claimed that Abdulloh had been tortured using suffocation.

A long-simmering rebellion against Thai rule in the Malay Muslim-majority “Deep South” on Malaysia’s border has left nearly 7,000 dead – the majority civilians – since 2004.

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Singapore

New Robinsons Tower in Singapore reaches for the sky with a green thumb

The Thaiger

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New Robinsons Tower in Singapore reaches for the sky with a green thumb | The Thaiger

Thailand’s capital could never be accused of having one of the world’s most interesting skylines. Except for maybe the Mahanakorn ‘lego building’, there is little cutting edge skyline architecture in Bangkok.

It’s a different case a few hours flight south in the Lion City, Singapore.

Pushing all sort of limits is the new Robinson Tower in the CBD. The first impression is of the upper section floating above the lower, with a leafy garden flowing between the two.

A closer inspection reveals a core that provides the backbone fo the entire structure. The twenty floors of offices also has a terraced rooftop garden.

Designed by New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the tower is also home to retail and food outlets in the lower section of the building, all arranged around another greenspace in a central atrium.

The architects say the design was influenced by Singapore’s Landscape Replacement Policy, which requires developers to incorporate publicly accessible green spaces equal in area to any greenery removed to develop the property.

“The dynamic tower frees itself from the canyon of stoic facades, integrating green space at unique vantage points and ultimately cultivating the public realm alongside a boutique, mixed-use program,” said Bruce Fisher, design director at KPF.

New Robinsons Tower in Singapore reaches for the sky with a green thumb | News by The Thaiger  New Robinsons Tower in Singapore reaches for the sky with a green thumb | News by The Thaiger

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