Samui’s market-wide hotel occupancy grew 9% in 2012, bolstered by growth in airlift to the island. “The tide has turned positive for tourism in Samui as the island clocked in a historical high market-wide occupancy of 68% last year. Two key drivers have been the surge of direct international flights and a marked increase in domestic travel.
A key catalyst of change in trading conditions has been Bangkok Airways ongoing upgrading of its fleet, which has provided a substantial increase in airline seat capacity. While the carrier is continuing to upgrade aircraft to larger and more modern Airbuses and slowly phase out older ATR 72 propeller planes, the ominous restriction on total daily flights has created a non-moving ceiling, which even Bruce Lee could not punch through.
Our near-term outlook is that Samui’s hotel industry is expected to enjoy a continued upswing. This is bolstered by a favorable pipeline as only a small number of new hotels are expected to come online over the next few years. Though our eyes and ears remain tuned to Bangkok Airways appeal process in expanding the flight capacity ceiling, as this remain the markets biggest self-induced limitation.”
Samui Airport continued to show strong results in 2012 with a substantial growth in total passenger arrivals of 15% over the previous year. This was led by a 40% rise in the international sector, while the domestic leg ticked up 13%.
A new development is the Koh Phangan Private Airport which is scheduled to commence its construction by the first half this year and set to complete in 2014. Its completion will benefit Koh Samui with more airline seats available for direct passengers to the outlaying islands.
Germany was again the number one international source market to the island for the third consecutive year, followed by U.K., Australia and Russia. Thai visitors represented only 9% of total tourists.
Hotel-wide occupancy was on the rise, registering 68% vs. 59% in 2011. However the growth in room night demand was offset by an 11% decline in average room rate. The resulting impact to RevPAR was a slight increase of 3%.
The five-year trend has showed gradual improvements in average occupancy of 2% year on year growth, which has been offset by a slight decline in the average room rate of 2% annually.
A key market insight is that branded hotels are sensitive to external events which impact the island’s tourism numbers. This is mainly due to the fact that most of these properties are positioned in upper tier scales.
Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks
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