FOXTROTSFox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

2006 September 20


Asia: Future resorts.

I usually stumble on trends at least six months after everyone else, but this one I made up myself before everyone else: 


New low-fare airlines (LFAs; from
Kuala Lumpur, and
Singapore) have added an impressive selection of routes to Phuket over the past 15 months. All came before the tsunami, but there is no reason to believe they will not continue.


Achieved hotel rates on the island fell in 2004, although it is not clear that LFA passengers were responsible. And even if they were, it does not matter – because occupancy increased, enough to push up revpar as well. 


Airlines have always been an important element in making resort destinations successful. But it is now LFAs that can now make a resort work, and not regular airlines.
Asia is probably ready for a third international resort destination – partly because of the tsunami – so which will it be?


Current ones are
Bali and Phuket. Others, such as Langkawi,
Lombok, and Koh Samui, have not made it, and neither have Pattaya and
Penang. (
Goa is in a region that attracts a different geographical market, but
Sri Lanka, post-tsunami, may change.)


Longterm pretenders have been
Hainan (around Sanya) in
China, and Boracay in the
Philippines. Both those are getting a boost with respected hotel names – particularly
Hainan, with Hilton, Kempinski, Marriott, Shangri-La, and Sofitel, and Shangri-La in Boracay.


Neither resort has LFA support – but watch
China. When LFAs get into
China or
Hong Kong – which surely will be before year-end? – then
Asia’s world will change again.


Link that to another of my year-end expectations – exit visas for individual travellers from China to Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand – and that should keep the region’s hotel developers busy for a couple of years.