48% of all Phuket hotel projects delayed, consulting firm claims


Up to 48 percent of all new hotel developments in Phuket are experiencing major construction delays triggered by the global economic downturn and concerns over Thailand’s political stability, a report has found.

According to the Phuket Hotel Market Update Mid-Year Report released by respected hospitality consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, the slowdown on hotel construction sites has however not dented developer’s enthusiasm for entering the accommodation market on the island.

The firms’ managing director, Bill Barnett, said despite the delays, new developments continue to enter the stream with 38 properties offering 6,231 rooms at various stages of advancement in the construction cycle.”Non-traditional product such as hotel managed villas and condos now represent 34 percent of the upcoming inventory,” he said.

According to the research, first half trading for 2009 indicated tourist arrivals declined by 14 percent but a combined luxury/upscale/mid-scale occupancy rate of 60.4 percent produced an average room rate of US$141.

The report also noted that branded hotels outperformed non-branded properties rate wise by 33.7 percent, although the non-brand sector outperformed the brands on occupancy by 12.4 percent. “Looking forward, short-term trading will focus on occupancy at the expense of long-term rate strategies,” Barnett added.

According to Barnett, cash flow is a key underlying consideration in this market with most hospitality assets largely carrying low debt ratios. D”efying the trends are the luxury high-end tier properties which operate in a favorable supply and demand segment and budget tier hotels who have captured changing demographics, are experiencing business from price conscious travelers.”

The report concluded that Phuket’s long-term outlook remained positive with brand concentration, growing airlift and infrastructure improvements, though recovery in 2009 has effectively been written off with prospects pushed into 2010.