Nattha Kahapana, director of Knight Frank Phuket, said yesterday that wealthy Middle Eastern citizens generally escaped the blistering summers of their countries and embarked on six-week tours of Europe's premier destinations.
In recent years, however, the company has seen the growth of such Middle Eastern leisure travellers in Thailand, vacationing in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. This year, their numbers have surged to a record high.
In Phuket, they are enjoying all that the island has to offer, and readily shopping for family-sized pool villas. Several luxury residential projects have rolled out the red carpet for them.
To fulfil the lifestyles of such clients, the infrastructure, facilities and amenities are carefully planned for many projects, including the huge 70-rai (11-hectare) complex in Naithon and the chic Xana Beach Club. Opened several months ago, the Xana is owned and operated by Angsana Hotels & Resorts. It features lounging, dining and swimming in a beachfront pool, with a relaxing, international appeal.
Phuket investors that have kept projects on hold since 2008 are now starting to revive and re-launch them to capture the demand of both new and existing clientele. The market appears to have new life. Besides the Middle East buyers, investors from South Africa have flocked to Phuket to buy into residential projects.
Various hotel projects have also changed hands. For example, a subsidiary of Singaporean firm LC Development recently acquired the former Evason Phuket and Bon Island Resort. Also, the Moevenpick Resort Karon Beach was sold by Kingdom Hotel Investments to Malaysia's TA Global for US$90.2 million (B2.87 billion).
In November, French hotel chain Accor Group will open a hotel on Naithon Beach. Named the Pullman, the property boasts 277 rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 250 people, an attractive feature for the meetings and conventions market. Also, the Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa will be launched in Layan, near the bustling Laguna area.
Courtesy The Nation
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