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Posted: 14 Mar 2014 | 6:00 am
Surat Thani airport emerging as second 'Plan B' island gateway. Triple digit growth of Chinese and Russian travelers.
In 2013, Samui saw a record high 1.7 million travelers visit to the island. Foreign visitors account for 88% of the total market, with nearly half coming from Western Europe.
A key stimulator of demand has been the rising prominence of Surat Thani airport as a second gateway to Samui. Passenger arrivals substantially grew at 38% and 32% in 2012 and 2013. Low-cost airlines and non-scheduled flights (charters) are lead indicators pushing up airlift. While Samui's airport capacity hit 86% in 2013, the second mainland gateway has the ability to drive numbers up.
Hotels across the island enjoyed an upswing in performance during the year. Room night demand and average daily rates increased at 5% and 7% over 2012. The key metric of RevPAR registered double digit growth of 14% spurred by higher room rates.
The island landscape is seeing a growing impact from the mass tourism sector, mainly from China and Russia. In 2013, these markets shot up by 127% and 171%, compared to 2012. It remains to be seen if the shift will be sustained or is a cyclical trading pattern.
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