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Airport authority predicts similar profit to last year

Airports of Thailand expects its profit excluding special items this year to be no lower than last year's Bt9.95 billion, despite the unfavourable political situation.

AOT president Makin Petplai said yesterday that it had strictly implemented cost-saving measures and boosted non-aviation revenue.

Foreign tourists' confidence in Thailand has resumed after the military stepped in after months of political turmoil and seized power. Its National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has also lifted the curfew across the country. Now inbound tourists are expected to increase significantly, he said.

The airport industry worldwide is growing at 4.5-5 per cent annually in terms of passengers, while in the Asia-Pacific region it is 6.5 per cent. Thailand this year is expected to see passenger traffic growth of 2-3 per cent.

AOT says it is willing to collaborate with the NCPO to scrutinise Phase 2 of the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion plan to show its transparency.

AOT has also continued implementing existing projects such as the Phase 2 expansion of the passenger area at Don Mueang International Airport to 30 million passengers per year. The project is expected to be finished late this year.

Phuket tourism unfazed

The tourism industry in Phuket, one of Thailand's key visitor destinations, remains robust with passenger arrivals to the island having surged 26 per cent and hotel occupancy rates reaching more than 80 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to two surveys by property consulting firms CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) and C9 Hotelworks.

The CBRE survey for the first quarter found that international arrivals in Phuket increased by 6.9 per cent to 962,953 visitors, thanks to direct flights, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported yesterday.

The March survey carried out by C9 Hotelworks found that Phuket International Airport recorded a consistent increase in passenger numbers of around 10 per cent per year from 2004-13. Last year, the airport recorded 3.2 million international arrivals, representing 26-per-cent year-on-year growth.

China and Russia are the two biggest tourist source markets for Phuket, making up some 45 per cent of total international passenger arrivals, a rise from 36 per cent in 2012. Last quarter, travellers from China and Russia reached 225,949 and 228,691. Three other major sources are Australia, South Korea and Malaysia.

Both firms concluded their surveys by forecasting that international visitors will continue to grow into the future.

The CBRE survey found that the average occupancy rate of high-end accommodation - hotels charging Bt2,000 or more per night - reached more than 80 per cent last quarter.

On the supply front, Phuket is expected to see eight hotel openings with 971 rooms. The island currently has 47,112 hotel rooms, according to C9 Hotelworks.

TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik said these figures for tourist arrivals in Phuket for last quarter were very positive and showed that visitors are confident that Thailand is still a safe and attractive destination for holidays and travel.

"Now that the curfew has been lifted nationwide, many leading tourist destinations as well as hotels, airlines and shopping malls are offering some great bargains to bring tourists back in larger numbers and restore visitors' confidence in Thailand as an appealing and welcoming destination," he said.


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