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Nai Harn beach, one of many with a fan club on Phuket's coast

Phuket, Krabi Soar, Phang Nga Plunges

Sunday, February 17, 2013
PHUKET: Phuket resorts are having a stellar year so far, with high occupancy levels forecast to roll through to April and perhaps beyond.

The opposite is true in Phang Nga, the province north of Phuket, where market forces have created a black hole for some resorts.

Phang Nga's occupancy rate fell from 96 percent in January 2012 to 47 percent in 2013. Although some resorts continue to do well, Europe's economy and a burst of newly-opened rooms is being blamed.

According to the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Division) incoming Russian tourists have shown a preference for Krabi, Phuket's other Andaman holiday region neighbor, largely because Krabi has its own airport.

Krabi resorts shared 88 percent occupancy in Janauary 2012 and 89 percent this year.

It is on Phuket, though, that that the evidence of the boom in the Chinese market can be seen.

Even with Phuket's outpaced essential infrastructure groaning with every new arrival, the island appeared to be booming in terms of numbers, if not revenue.

Newly released THA statistics for Phuket show that overall, 2012 improved on 2011, with occupancy for the calendar year lifting from 71.64 percent to 76.07 percent.

And January? Even more impressive. The overall occupancy rate for January on Phuket? 90.67 percent, a figure few resort managers and bank managers could complain about.

Across the board, the news was good. Five-star resorts, according to the THA figures, rose 1.95 percent in January on Phuket to 88.38 percent.

Four-stars fared even better, up 4.35 percent year on year on Phuket to 90.45 percent. And three-stars, probably because of the China boom, topped the lot with 93.18 percent on Phuket in January, up 4.03 percent.

With Chinese New Year bouncing into Valentine's Day and Phuket's Old Phuket Town Festival, the Phuket figures have stayed high.

In February 2012, Phuket resorts averaged 80.71 percent occupancy. So far this year, the THA speculates, advance bookings are likely to put the 2013 figure for February at 87.12 percent.

Although concerns remain about rapid environmental degredation, a Phuket airport that can't cope, gridlock on Phuket's roads and the likelihood of the property condo bubble bursting, the biggest smiles on Phuket right now must be on the faces of resort accountants.

If the Chinese influx continues, it could even mean the fulfillment of Phuket's impossible dream: a tourism year with no low season.

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You can interpret statistics in many ways. Those relating to Phang Nga will refer mostly to Khao Lak and seem to indicate "on paper" that Khao Lak has become a ghost town over the past two years. Staying in Khao Lak each year over the whole Dry Season I can assure you that is far from the case. Whilst the biggest single destination in Phang Nga it is still small in relation to available bed spaces compared with its more established neighbours to the south. The arrival of 4 major large developments and other small ones with others in the pipeline on the KL scene from December 2012 has increased the bed spaces available but too late for bed occupancy to be taken up on that scale thus distorting the statistics. The future will show whether the confidence of these investors, in the main from Phuket, was misplaced.
Personally, I don't think so, but I hope they don't bring the attendant "western" commercialism which is common in other destinations. 1 McDonald's is all we need in Khao Lak, some saying it is one too many!!!

Posted by Alan on February 17, 2013 09:23

Editor Comment:

The established resorts around Khao Lak are not complaining. But it does appear as though Russians generally show a preference for Krabi.

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Can the THA figures be believed, the numbers on the street, do not back them up. In consultation with a few stall owners, they say the same, compared with the same time last year, numbers are substantially down.

Posted by Reader on February 17, 2013 10:21

Editor Comment:

In the absence of your survey figures, Reader, we'll stick with the THA, thanks. Their statics are reliable. Your guesswork is not. Please get back to us when you have statistics relating the number of stalls to the number of arrivals.

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Personally, I hope it remains so. Having just spent 4 days on Nai Yang Beach in the lead up to Chinese New Year I wasn't sure whether we were in Russia or China!!

Posted by Alan on February 17, 2013 10:37

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Alan, just get used to it. Some people say that in a couple of years, one Singha will cost 10 rubel or 10 Yuan.

Posted by retired roadworker on February 17, 2013 14:22

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How more Russiians travel to Krabi how better for Phuket ! Lets divert there flights to krabi that peace come back in Phuket.It is much nicer to have chinese then russians that for sure in Phuket, at least they smile and are not rude

Posted by Eric on February 17, 2013 17:29

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@Eric have you ever been in china?

The chinese are not that kind of tourist which a tourist destination like to have. I don't know if you have ever been in china i live here since 3 years and to be honest i prefer the russians.

The chinese are extremly loud and stay 100% in there resorts the local bars etc. won't have any advantage of these guys. Even if the russians will spent a lot of money in 7 eleven in the end i promise you they will spend more then the Chinese to locals bars etc.

No comment concering enviroment problems espically for diving industry etc. If you have ever seen some korean goin diving then you know a lil bit in which direction it will go with the chinese. The chinese will touch and trample everything.

Posted by Tradex on February 17, 2013 20:04

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The percentages for Phang Nga are meaningless in respect of total visitors unless the total number of beds for both 2012 and 2013 are identified.

Posted by Anon on February 18, 2013 03:51


Saturday August 30, 2014
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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