Khao Lak becomes an Instagram hero with influx of Thai tourists

Published on : Saturday, November 28, 2020

As the doors of Thailand remain firmly closed to foreign tourists, the desire to travel domestic has turned Khao Lak, a series of villages into an Instagram hero.

As per the study made by C9 Hotelworks’ new Khao Lak Hotel Market Update, in the initial two months of 2020, occupancy rate in the resort destination increased above 80 per cent.

With lockdown, occupancy rate dropped massively in April and May 2020. However, from mid-year 2020, domestic travel re-started with the help of government-initiated ‘We Travel Together’ incentive, Khao Lak has slowly yet surely gained grip from fly as well as drive-in Thai markets respectively.

The surf scene at Khao Lak has recently become a social media sensation, with Pakarang Beach and Memories Beach Bar, the central point of a photo tourism movement – perked up by Instagram favorite hotels, Michelin-starred Southern-Thai restaurants, and the rediscovery of Takua Pa Old Town.

In the last five years, Khao Lak’s extensive white sand oceanfront strip of destination hotels has continued a march North towards Takua Pa. Stimulating a greater part of this development is expansive greenfield land parcels and a nearly completed four-lane highway expansion from the gateway airport in Phuket.

C9’s report shows that a hotel supply of 114 registered tourism establishments with 9,542 rooms and a further 2,283 keys are in the process. As 73 per cent of incoming supply is chain operated, the rush of global brands includes Pullman, Marriott, Sheraton, AVANI, and Holiday Inn.

In spite of downturn in tourism, some of the hotel owners in Thailand are seizing this time in completing projects and introduce their properties in the marketplace, making way for long-term optimism in the tourism potential of Thailand.

In the meantime, in many properties project delays are getting common due to the current situation as many new openings are getting postponed for 2022-2023.
To quote Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, pointed out that “while the panoramic pristine seaboard continues to stretch upwards into an emerging tourism Gold Coast, there is an increasing grassroots ‘sense of place’ movement afoot.”
Looking beyond the end of surf season which runs from just after the Songkran holiday period through November, local hotels are hoping that the domestic travel incentive of the government is due to expire at the end of January and it will be extended to mid-2021 at least or until international tourists are allowed to revisit the country.
“The continued influx of social media bloggers and influencers heading South is already creating a ripple effect in demand, most notably with the Similan and Surin islands as day trips from Khao Lak. It may not be a typical high-season but for now, the domestic tourists are a welcome sight for stressed hoteliers and tourism businesses,” said Barnett.

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