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23/08/2010 - Phuket leads Thailand tourism recovery  23/08/2010 - Phuket leads Thailand tourism recovery

A recent report suggests that Phuket is leading the tourism recovery in Thailand.  Passenger traffic at Phuket International Airport has shown a growth of twenty eight percent compared with the first half of 2009.

According to the report, by hospitality consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, the road to recovery has already started with hotel occupancies rising throughout 2009 and 2010.

Bill Barnett, C9 Hotelworks managing director, commented; “One clear indication of the bounce back is by hotel wide performance statistics, with occupancies rising from sixty one percent in 2009 to seventy percent in the same period of this year, although this did come at a cost of average room rates falling nine percent on last year.”

The report also shows a recent shift in the origin of visitors to Phuket with increasing numbers of Asian visitors.  It is believed that this change has been driven by a weakening Euro and Pound coupled with an increasing number of low cost, direct flights from neighbouring Asian countries.

“There could be some bumps in the road going forward – but the hotel pipeline is still showing development resilience and investment confidence with the addition of 4,538 new rooms or an 11% spike over the next four years.  A concern on oversupply exists, though this could be cushioned by induced demand and larger trading volumes.” Bill Barnett continued.

Bill Heinecke, chief executive officer and chairman of Minor Group International (hotel and resort owners for the Anantara brand and owners of the JW Marriott in Phuket), also has a positive outlook for the hospitality industry in Phuket:

“Following recent events and low season demand we are delighted to see that we have better results than last year. With regards to the fourth quarter, we have already seen positive signs for strong bookings coming in for October, November and December, so we remain positive that there will be fifteen percent year on year growth”, said Heinecke.

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