Thailand continues to be ‘Shangri-la’ or ‘the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ for luxury travellers. And some of its destinations know how to market themselves brilliantly. Consider Phuket, which has a range of great resorts, including Trisara. And THAT resort was helped from 2004 start by having a highly-respected GM, Anthony Lark. Now he, working as an integral part of Trisara’s ownership, Montara Hospitality Group MHG, announces an additional $291.5 million development, a wellness resort in Phuket, to open 2022.
On 230 acres of sprawling hillside with lakes and verdant gardens, 20 minutes away from Phuket International Airport, Tri Vananda will be anchored by wellness facilities specialising in alternative wellness medicine. Designed by Habita Architects and Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts, 298 for-sale villas (two- or three-bedrooms, ranging in total size from 2,906 to 8,073sq ft).
Anthony Lark is, by the way, President of Phuket Hotels Association PHA. As Asia’s most-visited island destination, with over 10 million arrivals in 2019, Phuket is aware that there are about 20 million Thais who take domestic holidays ever year, and, internationally, main markets are Korea and Mainland China, Russia, and average length of stay is 3.5 days (of PHA’s 75 member properties, roughly half are definitely luxury level). To help boost visitation, QUO’s David Keen has helped produce a new video, Imagine Phuket – see below. Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Thanusak Phungdet says Phuket has already lost over $3.9 million in lost tourist income, and unemployment has soared more than 34% over the year. Imagine Phuket is a reminder of the flavours of Thai food, the dreamlike limestone karsts of the landscape, the beguiling smiles and the feeling of freedom that comes with every visit.
Is there good news from elsewhere? Yesterday, Robin Rossmann, STR of mighty global hotels analyst STR, forecast that, across Europe, all levels, occupancy mid-November 2020 is predicted to reach 63%, not far off the 70% figure of mid-November 2019. So, hang on in there, all you owners and operators, there IS light at the end of this virus tunnel.