European source markets delivered higher volumes in the first quarter, while Asian source markets gained traction in international visitation in the second quarter. As regional countries in Asia reopened borders to overseas travel, Phuket has seen an influx of family-oriented travelers, Mr Barnett noted in C9 Hotelworks’ latest report, “Phuket Hotel and Tourism Update”.
“With an increase in international travelers, Phuket’s hotel sector performance is starting to see a recovery trend in occupancy. As a result of more airlift, the island registered an overall occupancy rate of 31.5% in H1 2022, up from 5.1% in the first half of 2021,” Mr Barnett noted.
“The upswing in demand was highest on the island’s west coast as the preferred choice of travelers. Looking forward, a seasonal transition will see international scheduled and charter flight winter schedules come into effect at the end of October and continue through March 2023.
“C9 is forecasting an optimistic outlook that Phuket tourism will continue recovering, albeit at a moderate pace moving into 2023. Factors driving this view are the continued zero-COVID policy in Mainland China, and limited airline seats for Russian snowbird travelers this winter season,” he added.
Phuket’s tourism continues to be fragmented without Mainland China. India by mid-year pushed to the top of geographic source markets, Mr Barnett noted among trends in the industry.
Newly opened demand generators include Andamanda Phuket Water Park and Robinson Lifestyle Thalang shopping mall, while a rising number of brand conversions and shift to franchises in chain-managed properties is being seen at midscale and upscale hotel tiers, he added.
Looking forward, Mr Barnett noted that the island’s Light Rail Mass Transit project is continuing at the feasibility and public consultation stage.
However, he also noted, “Lack of development debt financing continues to impact the incoming hotel pipeline with 31% of new projects remaining on hold.
“Despite an extended period of stress for hotel owners in Phuket, only one significant transaction was recorded over the two-year pandemic period,” he said.
To download C9 Hotelworks Phuket Hotel Market Outlook 2022, click here.