Robust passenger arrivals in 2H2019, spurred by the growth in the Indian market, has helped to rebalance Phuket’s tourism market, according to a new report by C9 Hotelworks.
The Phuket Hotel Market Update showed that the launch of direct flights to Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai has boosted Indian arrivals, with year-on-year growth of 298 per cent.
In 2019, year-on-year passenger arrivals declined in 1Q (-4 per cent) and 2Q (-7 per cent) due to international economic volatility, China-US trade tensions, and a strong Thai baht. As well, longhaul travellers from Australia and European countries (led by Scandinavia, Germany, and Italy) shrank. Moreover, Chinese arrivals moved into troubled territory with a negative year-on-year growth rate of -9 per cent.
However, passenger arrivals notably regained momentum in 3Q (3 per cent) and 4Q (8 per cent). The demand came from regional Asian feeders (led by India, Malaysia, and Singapore). Overall, for the year, passenger arrivals in 2019 are forecasted to be similar to 2018, but punctuated by a 2H rising trend.
In 2019, the total number of passenger arrivals at the Phuket International Airport is forecasted to be 9.1 million, with the December year-on-year monthly 2019 figure forecasted to be up by 8 per cent.
“Looking at key hotel performance trends, the second half growth spurt in demand drove full-year market-wide occupancy to 72 per cent. Rate pressure remains intense and a challenge to RevPAR, with Thai currency appreciation set to continue in 2020,” said C9 Hotelworks’ managing director Bill Barnett.
“A key airlift factor is direct flights and diverse destinations. Comparing mainland China with 21 destinations from 22 airlines and Russia with 34 destinations from eight airlines, the number of Indian arrivals from three cities and two airlines is anticipated to see continued market penetration and upside.”
Meanwhile, the top five locations for Phuket hotel pipeline developments are Patong, Bangtao, Kamala, Nai Harn, and Kathu, according to the report. The newly opened Porto De Phuket, alongside the Central Floresta and upcoming Andamanda, are all helping to position Phuket as a lifestyle, entertainment and shopping destination, it added.
In 2020, 5,009 new keys from 21 properties will enter the island hotel supply, which is a 6 per cent increase. The majority of future pipeline developments are in upscale and midscale tiers.