Shifts in Property and Tourism Trends in Phuket

Phuket is one of Thailand’s prime areas for both real estate and tourism, and these two sectors make up a hefty chunk of the region’s economy. However, recent times have seen big changes in both of Phuket’s key industries, and many current trends are very different from those observed in the region not so long ago.

Changes in both the Thai economy and the global economy have left to shifts in the kind of properties that are favoured in Phuket. When the region first rose to its current levels of prominence a few years ago, it was large, spacious beachfront property that performed best for investors. Previously, things shifted very much in favour of more modest properties and this still essentially holds. Now, however, investors are just as interested in the investment package as the type of investment.

With forecasts for the near future of the global economy somewhat more pessimistic, the security of assured rental periods and the added value of a fully-managed investment are supremely popular with buyers of property in Phuket right now. Indeed, these have become something approaching the norm for new investment opportunities in this market.

The residential investment sector is, of course, more than a little linked to Phuket’s tourist industry. Phuket is a popular tourist spot thanks to its good infrastructure and beautiful scenery – not least fantastic beaches. As with most popular tourist spots, some of the prime investment opportunities are properties that can serve as tourist accommodation. When buying these kinds of properties, another perk is becoming more and more essential to investors; having the right to a certain amount of personal usage per year. In a tougher economic climate, this provides important added value for investors by giving them both the benefits of a personal holiday home for a certain amount of time each year, and a revenue-generating investment asset the rest of the time. The more expensive and high-quality the property, the more investors tend to demand flexibility in personal usage rights.

These kinds of tourist properties for sale in Phuket are becoming more and more important to the local economy. The region that is popular with both wealthy expats and shorter-term tourist visitors, but the tourist trade is very much booming. The key shift from recent trends has taken the form of some changes to the demographics represented, particularly a decline in the number of Russian tourist and an increase in the number of visitors from China.

Despite these changes, overall tourist numbers, continue to be strong and indeed to grow at an impressive pace. Last year, there were 6.24 million arrivals to the region, including around 3.4 million direct foreign arrivals and 2.9 million domestic arrivals. This is an 8.7% year-on-year increase in the number of foreigners visiting the region, and an 11.7% increase in the number of Thai nationals.

The growing strength of the tourist trade in Phuket is down, at least in part, to significant improvements in the region’s already good-quality infrastructure. Most notably, this includes a significant expansion to the region’s airport, improving international accessibility and the volume of incoming visitors that the terminal can handle.

Mark Burns

Mark Burns is a Director and Property Investment Consultant at Hopwood House. With over 10 years' experience in property investment, Mark has provided investors with a wide range of opportunities in exotic locations around the world.

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