With over 7.5million airport arrivals to Phuket, there was a 5% increase in the year-on-year growth rate, in 2016, moving to 18% from the previous year’s 13%. This increase is principally credited to the 51% increase in the Russian source market. The strengthening of the Russian Ruble against the Thai Baht, as well as the politically volatile middle-east, might have added to the increase, particularly with the redirected Russian Tourists staying on the Island during the High Season.
Arrivals from mainland China, another important source market, were considerably affected by a government crackdown on zero-baht tourism, September last year. Chinese travel growth rate greatly reduced from 35% of the previous year to 11% in 2016. It is however expected that the enforcement of the new edict will soften the trend early this year, as more Chinese FIT coming in the Chinese New Year.
Balancing the two source markets ended the year on a positive note, with a 4% rise in market wide RevPAR. Development continues with lots more brand affiliated assets.
Some of the notable trends include;
- The United Kingdom and South Korea, both improved in the top 5 international source markets with 20 and 21% increase in passenger arrivals each.
- Incoming domestic flights increased at almost double the rate of international routes, with an almost double year-on-year at 20%, compared to the previous 11%
- Increased tendency towards branded properties with about 79% brand-affiliated keys compared to 21% independent made.
Looking forward into the year 2017, there are already many plans for the island that will translate to profound improvements in the tourism business.
- The renovation of Phuket International Airport’s domestic terminal is to be completed, according to schedule, in the fourth quarter of 2017. This will ease passenger traffic by building a link between the international and domestic terminals of the airport.
- An ultimatum has been placed on unregistered hotels to obtain licences within this year. This move is aimed at pushing Phuket’s low-tier hotels to function with higher standards of operation.
- High-end projects such as the expansion of Central Festival, Blue Pearl luxury mall, a planned light rail project, development of underpasses; are developing Phuket in a way that will drive tourism through the roofs.
Evaluating tourism in Phuket can be done on the basis of the airlines and hotel traffic.
For airline traffic; in 2016, Phuket Airlines played host to about 7.55 million inbound passengers, 56% of which were from international flights, with the remaining 46% made up of domestic arrivals. The domestic sector led the year-on-year statistical growth with about 19% increase compared to the 16% growth rate for international passengers. The top 5% destinations account for over 80% of the scheduled international flight arrivals on the island. Mainland China remains the biggest overseas source market despite a 2% drop.
In terms of hotel growth, RevPAR had an uplift in occupancy of about 2.68% last year. Within a ten year trend studied over 2007 to 2016, there was an increase in the supply of tourism, about 11% with a corresponding increase in the supply of 9%.
source: C9 Hotelworks