The President of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui has reported Hoteliers in Koh Samui are suffering from oversupply. Dragging down the occupancy rate and room rates.
Vorasit Pongkumpunt, said occupancy rate on the island during the final quarter this year, as of Dec 20, have plunged to 30% from 50%. During the last two weeks of December, the occupancy rate should rise to 90%. Putting it at 50% for the year, Mr Vorasit said.
He attributed the low figures to the strong baht and US, China trade war. He also said Chinese are flocking to cheaper beach destinations in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The slowdown will linger into the first quarter next year, considered the high season for the island.
The occupancy rate for next year’s first quarter in Samui stands at 35%, down from 50-60%, according to bookings.
The situation for the upcoming year will also worsen because over 1,000 hotel rooms from big hotel chains are going to be added on the island. While the number of tourists has not kept pace.
Hoteliers will be involved in a price war because of the glut of 30,000 rooms. This will eventually lead to layoffs and other social problems, across the island he said.
Flights to Koh Samui Down
There are about 40 flights to Samui airport, Bangkok Airways, with 3,000-4,000 passengers per day.
This pales in comparison to Phuket, which has 200 flights per day.
Mr Vorasit said he would like the airline to consider providing cheaper airfare to attract more tourists to Koh Samui. Especially during the off-peak season of October-November.
He also suggested lowering the landing fee at the airport to draw more chartered flights, according to the Bangkok Post.
Some 40% of tourists visit the island by air via Samui airport, while the remainder use ferry services from Surat Thani.
Mr Vorasit said to facilitate tourists, a cruise pier at Koh Samui is necessary to serve cruise ship travellers. This is a segment that has potential to increase tourism spending on the island he said. It will also add to the occupancy rate when they stay overnight.
This idea was presented to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn during his trip to meet operators on Koh Samui earlier this month.
This year 55 cruise ships are expected to visit Koh Samui. On an average they have 2,500 tourists, with 60% spending their time on the island shopping and sightseeing.
Another 62 cruise ships are projected to dock at the island next year, with 48 ships scheduled for 2021.