Phuket no longer viewed as a beach holiday destination alone

Phuket holidays are often synonymous with beach getaways but there is so much more to the contemporary Thai island with shopping representing a large chunk of tourist spending, according to Phuket-based asset management and hospitality company C9 Hotelworks.

The demographics of arrivals to this particular region of Asia include large populations of Chinese and Russian tourists with these two nationalities making up a large 38 per cent of arrivals.

Moreover, tourist spend was mostly utilised in the accommodation sector (30 per cent) quite understandably, but this was followed up by shopping (24 per cent) in second place meaning the Thai island is now internationally recognisable as a stellar retail hub.

In January, Thai-based company Central Retail Corporation revealed that a large-scale entertainment centre would be constructed also parallel to a parade of high-end fashion shops and a convention centre in Phuket with the aim to cater to this new type of retail-focused traveller.

Managing director of C9 Hotelworks, Bill Barnett said “It’s not just about the beach anymore, with shopping and attractions also driving demand.”

Barnett also explained that processes of increasing consumerism are not only traceable in Phuket but in a wider global sense also with the retail element often placed high on the travellers’ holiday agenda.

“It’s not good or bad for Phuket to be a shopping destination, but simply a natural shift from a more rural island to an urban area that reflects the increasing appeal of consumerism. It’s not a Phuket trend but a global trend.”

In the accommodation realm, the 2012 occupancy rate was recorded at 76 per cent and Thailand is preparing for future prosperity with more than 4,000 new rooms expected to be unveiled between 2013 and 2016.