Andaman Economic Report
PHUKET is mounting an extra-large contingent for the world's biggest travel fair in Berlin in early March, with about 18 resorts and hotels represented.
Similar efforts are being made by Phang Nga and Krabi as the Andaman region goes into overdrive to win visitors despite the global economic downturn.
The huge international fair comes as all three provinces face an uncertain low season, with resorts in a Phuketwan survey on Phuket emphasising the difficult times ahead.
It is hoped the this year's ITB Berlin 2009 from March 11-15 will be a turning point for the Andaman, which remains one of the best-value destinations for Europeans and Australians on long-haul holidays.
Island representatives at the fair will include the Merlin group, the Duangjitt Resort, Phuket Yacht Club, Le Meridien Phuket, the Palm Beach Club, Outrigger, Bang Tao Beach Resort and Katathani.
It's not just for five-star resorts - three-star resorts and up will be attempting to win the hearts and minds of European tour groups especially.
It's the fourth time Phuket has been represented. Before then, Phuket came with Thailand generally. But the Phuket ''brand'' now has its own standing.
Phang Nga will have 14 representatives: Royal Bangsak Beach Resort, Khaolak Bayfront Resort, Khaolak Resort, Khaolak Laguna Resort, Takolaburi Cultural and Spa Resort, Best Western Palm Galleria Resort, Khaolak Wanaburee Resort, Mukdara Beach Villa & Spa Resort, Ayara Villas, Ramada Resort Khaolak, Cher Fah Khaolak, Apsara Beach Resort Beach & Spa, Khaolak Palm Beach Resort and Sudala Beach Resort
Krabi has 10: Aonang Cliff Beach Resort, Bhu Nga Thani Resort & Spa, Ao-Nang Sunset Hotel, Koh Chang Kacha Resort & Spa, Krabi Resort, Pakasai Resort, Maritime Park & Spa Resort, Ao Nang Beach Resort, Phi Phi Natural Resort, Sala Talay Resort & Spa.
The Governors of Krabi and Phang Nga are expected to attend.
Phang Nga's recovery from the 2004 tsunami began at Berlin in 2005 when a representative from the Sarojin resort told fair-goers that the region was on its way back.
Trade visitors only are allowed on the first two days of the fair, and about 180 countries will be represented this year.
Phuketwan Resorts Survey
HERE'S WHAT a group of Phuket resorts told us in the latest survey of economic circumstances:
Vijitt Resort, Rawai Opened September 2008. Five-star, 92 villas. Joined the Tourism Authority of Thailand Superdeal campaign about a month ago. Occupancy for January was 38 percent, down by 20 percent on December. Most of the guests are from Korea and Europe, plus some Thais. The Vijitt is aiming for an occupancy rate averaged out to about 40 percent for 2009. February bookings are running at 35 percent. March to April bookings are at 20 percent so far.
Royal Crown Hotel and Palm Spa Resort, Patong Opened 1991. Three-star, 217 rooms. Joined the TAT Superdeal campaign in mid-January 2009. No increase in bookings perceived yet. Occupancy rate around 90 percent through January and early February 2009. Bookings for March at about 30 percent. The resort guest base is mainly Asian.
Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort, Chern Talay Opened 2006. Four-star, consists of 79 suites. Joined Superdeal a month ago. Some customers have booked as a result. Keen for the TAT to publicise Phuket's virtues. About 30 to 40 percent boost in bookings from the campaign and other promotions. Occupancy rate for January down on 2008 to 50 percent. Last year it was 80 percent plus. Some bookings for February. Last-minute travellers anticipated to increase. March to April booking at around 20 percent so far.
Peach Hill Resort, Kata Beach Opened 2002. Four-star, 241 rooms. Joined the TAT Superdeal campaign a month ago. Have people asking for more information, increased by 30 percent. Bookings for January among mostly-Asian guests base at 97 percent, as good as lat year. Booking for February at 70-80 percent. Charter flights that come via Bangkok first are one reason for success at Peach Hill. March-April bookings around 40 percent so far.
Club Andaman Beach, Patong Opened 1980. Four-star, 253 rooms. Joined the TAT Superdeal campaign in December, 2008. Increased number of people calling to check rates. Occupancy for January 2009 at 78 percent compared to January 2008 at 93 percent. February 2008 the rate was 95 percent, but February 2009 is running at 89 percent. March bookings are at 63 percent so far. April bookings are at 65 percent to date. Most customers in January were from Scandinavia, Europe and Australia. In February, most customers come from Australia and New Zealand.