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Kata in green season has plenty of attractions

Phuket Extra Sweet As Sugar Palm Expands

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
PRESSURES on resort staff wages are beginning to surface because of the inflationary push caused by rising fuel prices, says one rapidly expanding island business.

The Sugar Palm Grand Hillside is set to open in Kata in September. The four-star resort, part of the Mali Corp, has 106 rooms, with 12 swimming pools.

Don't confuse this with the existing Sugar Palm Resort in Kata. But yes, it is part of the same group, the three-star part.

Coming up as well as the Hillside is the Sugar Palm Grand, another four-star, in Karon. That's 74 rooms.

Mali also runs the five-star Malisa Villa Suites in Kata, and the two-star Patong Premier Resort.

There's also the new 30 million baht Mali Waterfront restaurant at the Karon Circle, and the Andaman Coffee outlets along the west coast, as well as Wild Wave clothing.

Just for good measure, the Malisa is going to build another 30 luxury pool villas, on the Karon beachfront near the Hilton Phuket Arcadia, from 2010.

That's quite a portfolio of resorts and a diverse spread of tourist-related businesses.

Phuketwan has heard that a string of Thai resort companies plan to expand from Phuket into Phang Nga as fast as possible. Mali Corp is one.

Owner and Managing Director Sucharlemporm Paramacharoenroj likes what's happening on Phuket in terms of the growth of tourism.

The Mali Corp is an impressive island success story. Remarkably, the expansion of the diverse family business has all taken place in the space of just seven years.

''Thai owners have to improve to compete with the big brands,'' he says.

''Service and security are what we do well. The competition can only be good for tourism.''

But cutting long-haul flights? That's not so good for business.

''It may not affect Phuket immediately. But eventually it will,'' says Khun Sucharlemporm.

He is a little troubled because he has yet to see the CCTV cameras that authorities seem to frequently be talking about to improve security in public places.

Phuket also needs a better transport system, Khun Sucharlemporm says, something that is close to the hearts of anyone who has been forced to pay for a tuk-tuk from Kata to Patong and back.

More positively, Khun Sucharlemporm says his personal regular road shows to Dubai were producing good results, with a good proportion of guests returning for a second visit.

Offering the full range of stars from two-star in Patong to five-star at the Malisa was a strategic advantage in the market, he adds.

One large economic concern was already having an impact. Staff were pressing for higher wages because of the inflationary effect of rising fuel prices.

He was happy to retain all his staff during the low season, and brainstorming with all levels frequently to introduce good ideas.

Earlier this year, Mali spent 30 million baht on the Mali Waterfront restaurant in Karon, across six rai. The result is impressive.

The restaurant can hold 250 people in the dining zone and another 200 in the bar. It opens each day from noon to 1am.

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Sunday November 29, 2020
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day

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