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Property Watch: Less is more for Koh Samui

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Property Watch: Less is more for Koh Samui | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: We live in a world where percentages seem to matter and growth dominates our horizon. I still recall growing up and marking off on a wall in our house how tall I was. I could not wait to be older, and the irony today is how I wish that I could instead roll back the clock.

In Phuket’s crowded market, hoteliers are increasingly griping about our high volume and low room rate business. Yet, on the island of Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, owners and operators are for the most part grinning about a sustained increase in room rates.

Without a doubt, airlift has a profound impact on tourism fortunes, and a decade-long feeding frenzy by proliferating low-cost carriers (LCCs) has changed our island’s landscape forever. Yes, everyone can now fly, and fly they do. Even the legacy airlines like Thai International are now under the gun and facing an uncertain future as the low-cost disruptors have flown into town.

Last year, Samui hit the one million mark for airport passenger arrivals, as Phuket edges closer to six million. The key difference is that while Phuket has a public airport under the Airport Authority of Thailand (AoT), Samui has a private airport effectively controlled by Bangkok Airways. Also, Samui has a long-term environmental control restriction limiting flights to 36 a day due to noise concerns.

So, airfares to Samui are in fact more expensive, and there are no LCCs in that market. But last year, the ceiling of flights to Samui increased to 50 a day. Compounding the surge in capacity was Bangkok Airways shifting away from ATR-72 aircraft and using more Airbus A-319s, which kicked in more seats. Passenger arrivals were up seven per cent year-on-year.

But where the key highlight of the Samui hotel market comes into focus is on room rates. Hotels were able to increase rates across the market by 12 per cent, which has a positive domino effect of increasing RevPAR (revenue per available room) by 15 per cent. Phuket, by contrast, has had to rely on volume to drive RevPAR and players in the local market are worried about whether or not this approach is sustainable for Phuket’s hospitality industry in the long term.

Investor sentiment has always favored Phuket which now has close to 40 new hotels in the development pipeline. In Samui the number is 14 with only 1,400 new keys, as properties tend to be smaller in Samui. However, famous international brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Sofitel and Holiday Inn will make up part of the growth.

From our research on Samui, one impact that is apparent is the performance imbalance of branded properties compared to independent ones. In a head-to-head comparison, the brands registered higher average rates by 24 per cent and premium RevPAR’s of 28 per cent. Over in Phuket we have witnessed a spate of new conversions to chain management by existing properties as well.

Moving forward, Samui is not without challenges given a limited road network, stretched infrastructure and a booming China market that is using nearby Surat Thani airport with low-cost carriers as an entry point.

Yet fundamentals in supply and demand remain strong. While in the past the airport limitation was viewed as a weakness, in the end it’s been a blessing in disguise for Samui hoteliers.

Bill Barnett is the Founder and Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks (C9Hotelworks.com), a leading Thailand-based hospitality and real estate consulting firm.

— Bill Barnett

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Samui to start Covid-19 vaccinations early next month | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

Covid-19 vaccinations on Koh Samui will start early next month with 2,500 doses planned to be given to 1,250 people on the island, according to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto. Island authorities are also proposing that foreign visitors be allowed to quarantine on their yacht, at a villa hotel or at a wellness centre.

The tourist island off the coast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand is deemed as an area of “economic significance” and is included in the first phase of the country’s immunisation plan. The first doses will be given to disease control officials and those in the tourism sector.

The vaccines, which just arrived from overseas yesterday, are expected to be delivered to the island before the end of the month and vaccinations are set to start in early March.

Half of the vaccines are reserved for those in the healthcare field as well as local government officials. Around 26% of the doses would be given to local health volunteers and the general public. 22% of the doses would be given to workers in the tourism industry, including airport employees and hotel quarantine employees. 2% of the doses will go to Covid-19 inspectors.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

4 top tourist destinations to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

Maya Taylor

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4 top tourist destinations to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine distribution | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration says 4 of Thailand’s major tourism destinations are to be prioritised in the distribution of vaccines. They are Phuket, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Surat Thani. In addition, a further 9 provinces with significant infection numbers are being prioritised in the rollout of the first vaccine doses arriving in the Kingdom today.

Taweesin Visanuyothin from the CCSA says 70,000 doses will go to the hard-hit “highest control” area of Samut Sakhon, where Thailand’s second outbreak began late last year. 8,000 doses are being set aside for medical officials in the central province, along with 6,000 for frontline healthcare workers, 46,000 doses for seriously ill patients, and 10,000 doses for migrant workers and local residents.

Another 105,000 doses will be distributed to similar groups in Bangkok, in the central provinces of Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkram and Samut Prakan, and in the western province of Ratchaburi and the Mae Sot district of Tak.

The Pattaya News reports that 14,700 doses will be sent to 4 major tourist destinations, with 4,700 going to the eastern province of Chon Buri, 4,000 to the southern island of Phuket, 3,500 to the northern province of Chiang Mai, and 2,500 going to the island of Samui in the southern province of Surat Thani.

In the case of the vaccines going to tourism spots, it is not yet known which groups will be vaccinated first, with that decision being left to the Provincial Communicable Disease Committee and other related authorities.

Meanwhile, the CCSA says other plans for the 4 tourism destinations are being considered, including the possibility of “area quarantine”, which would allow vaccinated foreign arrivals to remain within certain boundaries during their quarantine period. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has been pushing for a vaccine passport policy for vaccinated visitors, while PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says the government may consider lifting quarantine restrictions for vaccinated tourists.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

Police raid “Hippie Festival Samui,” arrest French musicians for allegedly working without a permit

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police raid “Hippie Festival Samui,” arrest French musicians for allegedly working without a permit | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Times

Police on Koh Samui broke up the “Hippie Festival Samui” at a restaurant on Lamai Beach and arrested 4 French musicians, who were performing at the event, for allegedly working without a work permit. The manager of the restaurant, 48 year old Kannika Thongreuang, was arrested for selling alcohol during hours when alcohol sales are prohibited.

Around 100 Thai and foreign customers at the event, according to Thai media. Bo Phut police checked passports and took 2 bottles of beer as well as a some bills as “evidence” of the alcohol sales. The musicians – a drummer, saxophone player, bass player and guitar player – were all taken to the Bo Phut police station. Thai Visa says police had received complaints about an “illegal party.”

Just last month, on neighbouring Koh Pha Ngan, police broke up a party at the ThreeSixtyBar and arrested 111 people, including 89 foreigners, for allegedly breaking a number of laws relating to Thailand’s Emergency Decree put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui are part of a trio of popular islands off the Surat Thani coast in the Gulf of Thailand.

Police raid “Hippie Festival Samui,” arrest French musicians for allegedly working without a permit | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Times

Police raid “Hippie Festival Samui,” arrest French musicians for allegedly working without a permit | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Times

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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