By Bill Barnett
Phuket’s tourists, expats and property buyers are finding new reasons to head to the Pearl of the Andaman. They’re now spending more time and money seeking out alternative activities in areas other than the famed west-coast beaches.
A report says that the island is transforming into a more well-rounded destination as visitors and new residents takes advantage of the Thai island’s expanding air transport infrastructure.
A new report by hospitality consultancy C9 Hotelworks showed says that almost 200,000 square metres of of premium-grade leasable retail spaces are now in the Phuket pipeline offering travellers and expats experiences surpassing just the beach bars and pesky beach vendors.
Developers are also adding more serviced apartments to planned mixed-use projects as an attractive alternative for real estate buyers.
There are 36 new hotels in the pipeline with 27 of those 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 resident components, which will account for 28% of total incoming supply. These ‘resident components’ offer condo-style accommodation but as part of branded hotels with opportunities to rent out your investment, backed by international brands.
Bill Barnett, C9 Hotelworks managing director says that four retail complexes are under development in the island – extensions to Cherng Talay’s Boat Avenue and Central Festival Phuket among them – as demand for “non-beach activities” rises.
There’s also the opening of the world-class Blue Tree Waterpark and entertainment precinct, set for the start of 2019.
“Phuket is gradually transforming to a more urbanised holiday destination rather than a pure beach getaway. With the strong purchasing power of tourists, especially Chinese, Russians and Australians, more retail and tourism attractions are developing on the island.”
The report says that investment in the island’s old airport are reaping the benefits. A totally new international airport in 2016 and recently completed renovations of the old terminal into a domestic-only terminal has paid dividends. A total of 3.5 million passengers arrived in Phuket in the first four months of 2018, up 19 percent from the same period in 2017.
China remains the largest source market for Phuket, with flights from mainland China accounting for a 40 percent share of overseas passenger arrivals.
Airports of Thailand has announced a new international airport will be built over the Sarasin Bridge in Khoh Kloi Phang Nga with a tentative opening planned for 2025. Construction will begin in 2019 at a total cost of USD1.8 billion.
“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,” Barnett said.
Around 155 resort villas were sold in Phuket last year, the highest number of units sold in a year since 2015, according to CBRE Thailand.
Read more of the c9hotelworks.com report HERE.
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