Phuket set for tourism surge

The boom in tourist numbers in Phuket, Thailand, is set to continue for the rest of the year, according to a new report by C9 Hotelworks.

The report shows that the resort island, which was hit hard by the 2004 tsunami but has since rebuilt, is set for a record four million passenger arrivals at the Phuket Airport this year. This figure is based on January-June 2011 arrivals, which were 20% higher year-on-year.

“First half trading by volume markets saw a surge in Phuket’s average occupancy across all hotel tiers to 73%. Key market metric RevPAR moved up to its highest level since the global financial crises in 2008,” said Bill Barnett, managing director at C9 Hotelworks. “As long as the infrastructure keeps pace with the increased numbers of tourists and expansion of hotels and faculties are well planned and implemented, hotels will be able to properly manage their room rates in line with the supply and demand dynamics.”

The report states that the increase in airport traffic is straining the handling capacity of the airport. A US$164 million expansion plan that will increase handling to 12.5 million by 2014 will only start construction next year and tourism operators are increasingly concerned over mounting delays for travellers.