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Fewer guests to welcome. Sala Phuket will be only half full this December.

Phuket Resorts Facing Cancelled Bookings

Thursday, November 27, 2008
PHUKET RESORTS are seeing bookings for the industry's key peak season decline further as several countries have issued fresh travel advisories for Thailand in the wake of the takeover of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok by anti-government protesters.

Yesterday, the foreign offices of China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, the US, Australia and Japan issued statements urging their citizens to avoid Bangkok if possible or use caution if staying in Thailand.

Thailand now joins the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Georgia in the UK's foreign office listing of countries where it advises against "all but essential travel to parts of a country."

China's embassy in Bangkok issued a statement telling its citizens to postpone travel plans to Thailand.

Twinpalms Phuket has had 30 percent of its bookings cancel since the Suvarnabhumi airport was shut down by protesters, says the resort's sales and PR executive, Nakarin Panpanij. A further 10 percent of expected guests have postponed their arrival dates.

About 20 percent of guests now at Twinpalms have had to extend their stay since flight cancellations have made it impossible for them to return home. Most guests affected are from Switzerland and Denmark, he says.

The resort's 97 rooms were fully booked during November and December last year, he says. This year's November occupancy was down to 83 percent while December is looking even bleaker at 65 percent.

At the moment, Twinpalms will hold onto its 180 staff but will not be hiring additional staff. Salary and service charges are not being reduced, he says.

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Movenpick Resort is also reporting cancellations from both group and independent travelers, mostly from Europe and Asia. Napaporn Pandee, Movenpick's marketing communications executive says that the travel advisories were having some effect; occupancy in its 364 rooms is down from last year.

So far, the resort was not laying off any of its 400 staff, nor was it cutting salaries or service charges, Khun Napaporn says.

Club Andaman Beach Resort has not yet seen any cancellations, but occupancy through the peak season remains soft, says Mutakan Srithongsook, director of sales and marketing.

Update: Club Andaman at 3.30pm today reported a cancellation of 61 rooms.

Last year was a very good season for Club Andaman, he says, its best since the 2004 tsunami, but since protests reignited in Bangkok earlier this year, bookings have declined. Guest bookings from China, Korea and Japan are all down from last year.

He says he expects the Bangkok airport closures will have a greater economic effect than the Phuket airport's closure in August.

Club Andaman's bookings for November through January are down 15 to 20 percent from last year. He says other hotels in Patong were seeing lower bookings through the high season until March next year. December will have a fairly healthy occupancy rate of 75 percent, but last year Club Andaman's 253 rooms were more than 90 percent full in the same month.

Its 300 staff would not be laid off nor were there any plans to cut salaries or service charges, Khun Mutakan says.

In response to lower bookings, Club Andaman was being more flexible on pricing through the high season.

Sala Phuket, which has 79 luxury villas, 10 outright cancellations another 15 bookings for November-December have postponed, says Narong Laochan, front office manager.

The award-winning resort, open for only 11 months, was aiming for 80 percent occupancy for the remainder of the year, but will have only 50 percent.

Customers who cancelled opted to go to Bali or Hong Kong instead, he says, since they were unable to reschedule their holiday. Arriving guests have had to reroute flights to Phuket through Singapore or Hong Kong.

Four guests, all from the UK, have extended their stay at Sala Phuket because their departing flights were cancelled, says Khun Narong.

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Phuket Protesters Mobilized to Bangkok
Phuket PAD supporters are rushing to join the escalating political action in Bangkok as the capital's airport remains under siege.
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Phuket Airport Open but Tourists Trapped
Thousands of tourists cannot reach Phuket today as Suvarnabhumi airport's closure has forced inbound flights to cancel. Resorts offer 70 percent discounts for stranded passengers.
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Comments

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We have a charter business here in Phuket and last season ( High and Green ) saw us do fairly well under the situation as it was then. Now with this new threat, our bookings are down almost 98 percent on bookings from begining november last year. Where to now Phuket - Thailand ???

Posted by mouse on November 27, 2008 22:00


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