Skift Take

Thailand still has much to do to get travelers back to Bangkok or reassure business and meetings travelers that visiting a police state is a good idea.

Hotels on Koh Samui expect a good July-September high season thanks to improving tourism sentiment.

Tanongsak Somwong, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, is confident average hotel occupancy on the island will return to a normal 90% next month.

July occupancy has been 65-70%, a decline of 20 percentage points year-on-year.

Thailand’s tourism situation has been gradually returning to normal after the junta lifted its nationwide curfew.

Centara Hotels and Resort reported average occupancy of 80-90% at the Centara Grand Beach Samui.

Nuan Ek-In, managing director of The Kala Samui resort, said average occupancy of 80% was slightly lower than last year due to lingering effects from the May 22 coup.

The number of European tourists has dropped by 20%, but more Chinese travellers are compensating for that fall.

“Bookings for the July-September high season are slow this year. Normally, bookings should reach almost 90% but are hovering at about 80% now,” Ms Nuan said.

Koh Samui has two high seasons ? December-April and July-September.

Ms Nuan is optimistic for the next high season after tourists’ worries ease.

C9 Hotelworks said 1.7 million travellers visited Koh Samui last year. Foreign visitors accounted for 88% of the total, with nearly half coming from Western Europe.

Hotels across the island enjoyed an upswing in performance. Accommodation demand rose by 5% and the average daily room rate by 7% from 2012.

Revenue per available room showed double-digit growth of 14%, spurred by higher room rates.

Erawan Group said the average occupancy rates of its Samui hotels, including the Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa and the Ibis Koh Samui, were running strongly.

Average room rates increased by 15-80% for the Renaissance and 5-70% for the Ibis.

Director Kamonwan Wipulakorn said Koh Samui was far from political conflicts, so its hotels had high occupancy rates.

For its Bangkok hotels, the average occupancy rate is 55%, lower than earlier projections of 60-70%.

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Tags: koh samui, thailand, unrest

Photo Credit: Sunset in Koh Samui, Thailand. Steve Jurvetson / Flickr