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A wide-eyed Phuket football fan during the World Cup

Trends: Room Rates May Hit The Roof in 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008
RATES tipped to rise
ALTHOUGH green groups are advising people to give up travel to save the environment, The New York Times reports that a shortage of resort rooms worldwide is likely to drive the price of accommodation higher in 2008.

This will happen especially at hotels and resorts favored by luxury and business travelers, author David Kaufman quotes analysts as saying in the Travel section January 20 article.

On Phuket, that may bring smiles to many faces at five and four star resorts, and at the TAT, which is campaigning for more upmarket visitors.

Some of the strongest gains are in Asia, with India up 48 percent ''this year'' - presumably Kaufman is talking about 2007 not 2008 and the Times copy editor simply forgot to adjust his desk calendar.

Oddly, Kaufman says India has only 100,000 hotel rooms nationwide, the same as New York City, which seems to us to be missing something, somewhere.

That figure doesn't compute. On Phuket, the number of rooms available at all classes of accommodation is expected to top 40,000 sometime in 2008.

Rates in Vietnam, Singapore and Dubai rose dramatically last year and The Times article predicts resort rates will surge in China because of the Olympic Games.

Interestingly, Suwalai Pinpradab, Phuket's TAT regional chief, told Phuketwan in a wide-ranging interview that will appear shortly that she doubts there will be a dip in visitors to Phuket during the Games in August.

The phenomenon has been experienced previously, most notably during football's World Cup when people either travelled to watch the event or stayed home by their television sets.

Room rates in the US and Europe are also up and expected to rise even further in 2008, the article says.

''Another option,'' it adds, ''at least for leisure travelers, is to choose destinations where prices have remained low or at least offer more for their money, suggested Ken Fish, owner of the luxury service Absolute Travel.

''Although costs have risen, Thailand is still a good value, both in Bangkok and in beach resorts,'' he said.

BRANDS: Hilton tops
WHILE new resort brands continue to arrive on Phuket or the nearby region with regularity, one respected survey reports that Hilton has now taken over as top marque in the Asia Pacific.

Hilton is also top brand for 2007 in Western Europe, the Middle East and Latin-America, with Hyatt, Sheraton and Marriott all in contention.

Tim Sander, Research Director at British-based Business Development Research Consultants, told Phuketwan: ''The survey is based on interviews with adults who have stayed in a hotel for business reasons in the past 12 months, either in their own country or abroad.

''The sample is representative of business guests in each market. We do not select specific brand users but most have stayed (naturally) with a number of hotel brands.

''We do not tap into hotel guest databases but randomly select respondents who need to fulfil some criteria.''

Radisson rides high in Scandinavia, with Hilton in second place there.

''We ask about the majority of brands regardless of their size, however, there is a certain relationship between the size of a brand and how well it is known,'' Mr Sander said.

''It will be difficult for any other hotel brand to challenge Hilton's current global position."

The BDRC surveys were first launched in 1982 in Britain and are now conducted each year among more than 12,000 hotel business guests in 39 countries, including Thailand.

The US and Eastern Europe will be covered by the survey for the first time in 2008.

TSUNAMI: US dug deep

THE 2004 tsunami was followed by an enormous wave of generosity from around the world that reached the Andaman coast faster than many places.

A report has just been released detailing the assistance provided to all affected countries by the US Agency for International Development (US AID).

As well as official aid of more than $800 million by US Government agencies, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University reports that US private tsunami donations, both cash and in-kind, totalled more than $1.8 billion.

U.S. assistance has restarted more than 2.6 million businesses; provided economic restoration grants to more than 1.7 million recipients; rebuilt more than 11,600 community buildings; and trained more than 22,000 communities in early warning and disaster preparedness.

Part of the US effort has focussed on warning systems and a plan to assist regional governments to better understand and plan for future earthquakes and tsunamis.

The media release noted US support for ''a full-scale tsunami simulation exercise in Thailand, the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean.''

Unfortunately, that particular exercise in 2007 was inconclusive at best and farcical at worst.

Everything looked fine for the benefit of the television cameras and the officials in Patong. Yet at beaches on Phuket and elsewhere along the Andaman coast, no warnings sounded.

While a second tsunami is unlikely, there has been no evidence so far that adequate warning will be given, especially if the tsunami comes late at night.

Look for more TRENDS at Phuketwan

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Friday February 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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