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Is Samui Dying?


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when i first arrived on Samui in Jan 2005, the place was packed and not a hotel room available.

for the next 2 years or untill 2007 it was still fairly busy

move forward to Jan 2009 and the place is empty !! ....

i have heard from many hotels that they have 0 bookings as from Feb...

how long can Samui survive if the tourists stop coming? ( well a majority of them )

It will be interesting times over the next 6 months

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when i first arrived on Samui in Jan 2005, the place was packed and not a hotel room available.

for the next 2 years or untill 2007 it was still fairly busy

move forward to Jan 2009 and the place is empty !! ....

i have heard from many hotels that they have 0 bookings as from Feb...

how long can Samui survive if the tourists stop coming? ( well a majority of them )

It will be interesting times over the next 6 months

you are asking for trouble from highdiver with a post like this. :o

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I was on Samui for a month from the end of December and it did seem very slow in comparison to previous years. I would hope that it's just the finacial crisis and that things will pick up in the future.

So, is Samui dying? No, just slowing down a bit.

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when i first arrived on Samui in Jan 2005, the place was packed and not a hotel room available.

for the next 2 years or untill 2007 it was still fairly busy

move forward to Jan 2009 and the place is empty !! ....

i have heard from many hotels that they have 0 bookings as from Feb...

how long can Samui survive if the tourists stop coming? ( well a majority of them )

It will be interesting times over the next 6 months

Until last week Lamai was enough busy. Restaurants were never really full, and the ones farther from the center were always empty. But today the beach was not totally empty.

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Hi SBK

Sorry, i wasnt pointing purly at Samui, but from a recent visit to Phuket and Pattaya, Samui has been hit the worst.

Phuket is also suffering and seeing a decline, but not as much as Samui ( i believe mainly due to cheaper flights in and cheaper hotel rooms in Phuket )

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Hi SBK

Sorry, i wasnt pointing purly at Samui, but from a recent visit to Phuket and Pattaya, Samui has been hit the worst.

Phuket is also suffering and seeing a decline, but not as much as Samui ( i believe mainly due to cheaper flights in and cheaper hotel rooms in Phuket )

My mistake then, it seemed to me that you were suggesting Samui was the only place to be hit by the tourist downturn and as well, I wonder if perhaps to suggest the term "dying" is a tad extreme? Dying implies permanency whereas I seriously doubt that is necessarily true.

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Hi SBK

Sorry, i wasnt pointing purly at Samui, but from a recent visit to Phuket and Pattaya, Samui has been hit the worst.

Phuket is also suffering and seeing a decline, but not as much as Samui ( i believe mainly due to cheaper flights in and cheaper hotel rooms in Phuket )

My mistake then, it seemed to me that you were suggesting Samui was the only place to be hit by the tourist downturn and as well, I wonder if perhaps to suggest the term "dying" is a tad extreme? Dying implies permanency whereas I seriously doubt that is necessarily true.

well i didnt really want to start the same topic in each sub forum :D , as i just seemed to feel samui was alot more effected then the other regions

also i used that particlar phrase, as a client of mine has backed out of a deal here and used the term ' Samui is Dying ' ( he is in the hotel buiness ) and to mention he stayed in a hotel in Chaweng last week and only 3 rooms out of 122 where ocupied :o

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OK, I understand, thanks for the clarification. I wonder if your friend has alot of experience in hotels and/or tourism business in Thailand or even Samui tho to be making these kinds of pronouncements? Not questioning your interest, just curious as to how and why he is qualified to make such a statement.

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Hi SBK

I think it was a general opinon of what he has seen over the year... but on another note he also mentioned Las Vegas was on a massive downturn as well....

Anyway, maybe the title was a bit strong, but for myself and my family, we rely on the tourist trade here and the last few months we have been hit really bad, as even the people that are coming to the island are just not spending...

Well lets see how the nxt 6 months go :o

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Tbh, Boater, its not the next six months that concern me, but the next high season. As has been said in other threads, alot of people bought their tickets before the financial crisis and/or the airport closure. Its the people booking next season that will tell the tale.

As for whether Samui is being hit harder, well I think the price of plane tickets does play a large part in how many people are willing to fly in.

One other thing to remember is that Samui (and Phangan as well) had a huge influx of tourists after the tsunami as people did not return to Phuket or Phang Nga for several years. I think the corresponding downturn in tourists may have something to do with the fact that 1. alot of people are finally returning to the west coast and 2. there have been quite a few other beach destinations developed in Thailand in the past few years.

Couple that with an overall downturn in tourism period, and it it will most definitely result in a reduced number of tourists coming to Samui.

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the gbp took a bashing this morning, so even if people are still spending the same in value of their own currency it's just not worth nearly as much in baht these days, for a two week holiday i'm getting 17500 baht less :o than this time last year and that's just the spending money hotel costs have gone up 26% due to the exchange rate plus i notice my usual hotel has increased their prices by 8% too so only a mad man would look to an expensive long haul, hopefully this can be offset by airlines bringing down prices but they have instead cut capacity to keep the prices as high as when the oil price went to $140 and it is now only $33 a barrel (i realise the cost isn't just the gas used to get the plane over but still it should have come down a bit by now) so not to many bargains to be had though their are some if you can fly when they have them on.

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the gbp took a bashing this morning, so even if people are still spending the same in value of their own currency it's just not worth nearly as much in baht these days, for a two week holiday i'm getting 17500 baht less :o than this time last year and that's just the spending money hotel costs have gone up 26% due to the exchange rate plus i notice my usual hotel has increased their prices by 8% too so only a mad man would look to an expensive long haul, hopefully this can be offset by airlines bringing down prices but they have instead cut capacity to keep the prices as high as when the oil price went to $140 and it is now only $33 a barrel (i realise the cost isn't just the gas used to get the plane over but still it should have come down a bit by now) so not to many bargains to be had though their are some if you can fly when they have them on.

Then in the end what % of tourist are from UK?

I'm not that sure it will effect that much as tourists from other countries are not effected on gbp rates. From what is see people from euro zone are getting more or less the same rate since past few years and i think US$ is not much different nowdays?

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you know I've seen many threads and postings about so many things with tourists no longer coming, samui so bad tourists won't come anymore, just to many things. Look for me I run a business on the island.

1. I'm watching some of the bigger players to ( global hotel chains, airlines ). For the most part it would seem regardless where you are this year isn't like other years before. I was even watching a event that was being held in the U.K. where more than 20 different countries where trying to promote for tourism.

Basically what me, airlines, countries, hoteliers at least know people will still travel, maybe not as long, or spend as much but there definetly looking for bargins and that is a fact.

2. Being here on the island I have not changed my prices in the last 3 years, I do discounts for locals, residents, do contracts. To me its really about survival, having a good businesses plan, taking risks.

3. For me as long as I'm breaking even or taking losses but making money and getting by till things improve i'll be fine. I've saved money for reserves.

4. Most of the people from what i've seen over the last few months most of you guys are living here not working or are retired. Just because you've been one place and it was empty don't assume other places are doing bad also

5. Lets get real here, for tourism to completely go dead in thailand, would not be a good thing and its not impossible to happen just not likely at the moment

6. for most of you british people who's pound has fallen, I travel with the US dollar and your pound still gets you more than I do on a dollar ( so far anyway ). You'll still to come to thailand as long as you have a job, even if it means saving more money. If your retired you'll change or be forced to change your habits to get by.

7. For all the people who complain about this and that, I've finally learned the hard way. This is thailand, logic, common sense DO NOT work here, never ever expect anything here to be like home. Be happy, if your all doom and gloom go to the bar and drink your days away. I've still got employee's to take care of and pay, always new people to meet, and enjoy my days even if its one day at a time.

8. Im done on this but before I go I think regardless samui needs vast improvement and if to many restaurants, hotels, keep coming over you'll have an oversatured market.

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don't get me wrong i am a mad man :o and will still be doing my 3 trips a year, just at a different hotel, less over tipping and a bit less diving, still be drinking eating and playing the same just letting you know how my monetary circumstances have changed which are out of my control and how the thought process is changing in the short term for me due to that, the holiday is the most reluctant thing ukers will give up that's for sure

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3. For me as long as I'm breaking even or taking losses but making money and getting by till things improve i'll be fine. I've saved money for reserves.

I'm not sure how you can be "taking losses but making money," but I have a friend flying in who has been asked to be partners with someone who is going to open a coffee shop in Lamai.

My understanding is that this is a done deal, with the location already selected. I am going along to inspect the place and see what I think, but without even going, I can pretty much advise that this would be complete folly. Aside from the fact that however you look at it, Samui is slower than a few years ago and the high season, money-making times are brief throughout the year, whatever business you are thinking of has already either been tried and failed or there are a dozen of them here already (mostly struggling to survive).

Understanding this, people who are here all the time know that this is sucker fishing season -- tourists not so familiar with the seasonal vagaries of the island come now and see the tourist numbers and think, "A business could be a good idea. There seems to be good numbers here and even if it slows down later, I can still make a go of it. Let's see, what shall it be? Coffee shop? Bakery? Bar? Internet cafe?"

What they don't understand is that when it slows down (what? 7 or 8 months of the year) it becomes nearly deserted. How many cups of coffee and cakes do you need to sell to even begin to see a dent in your key money?

If you can't sell your business now, you will almost certainly not be able to get rid of it at other times of the year.

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you know I've seen many threads and postings about so many things with tourists no longer coming, samui so bad tourists won't come anymore, just to many things. Look for me I run a business on the island.

2. Being here on the island I have not changed my prices in the last 3 years, I do discounts for locals, residents, do contracts. To me its really about survival, having a good businesses plan, taking risks.

Samui problem is that EVERY OTHER BUSINESS have doubled the price in the last 3 years.

It is simply not cheap anymore.

Why on earth americans should came here when they have much much more beautiful beach on the carabbean at 150$ round trip cost (got offer yesterday, from Miami...).....????

BTW, yesterday was very low tide, Lamai beach was technically a garbage dump more than a beach. :o:D

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there are now in samui a lot more hotel rooms then there were 5 years ago and next year there will be even more

there are now in Samui a lot more restaurants, bars , clubs and bars then 5 years ago

while in past years the majority of the tourist were in chaweng and lamai the past 2 years have marked a shift into other areas that are quickly developing. and the over development on the island is making the competition for each business a lot harder as the tourist now have a wide selection of choices to choose from.

the tourist growth.(though some have made up their mind so i will not confuse them with the facts) even if growing is much slower then the scale of development. so many businesses will feel less tourist when the can compete.

I don't think Samui is dying out but business that will not be ready to compete will be out.

in the past years i have seen many small time "investors" opening up tourist related business.. some of them have never heard of the concept of "location" or know how to run a tourist related business yet that did not stop them from investing and then complaining that there are no tourists. i some times pass a business and can not avoid saying "what were they thinking"

just a short stroll in chawneg you can see the difference in business attitude.. new hip design bars and clubs and new hotels versus the old low maintenance poor service establishments.

bars and clubs that have old plastic chairs, poor service, and a bit up stereo. versus hip design places with air condition, a resident dj and a bar man that knows how to mix a drink.

We live in an age of "trendy" and more so then ever in the age of value for money. and the tourist coming here have a choice of a new trendy upscale good service establishment or an old one for the same price. its obvious that those who are not ready to compete will loose market share.

i have a close friend with a sea food restaurant in lamai . this restaurant has been doing great in the past. but since 2 other restaurants with better decor and better everything opened near him he has lost a lot of market share. from his point of view if he continues to do what he did before that's good enough and he does not understand why there are no customers.

if you walk down soi green mango you will see the new bars that opened up like "Mint" that are packed and the old bars that no one sits in.. they were full a few years ago but they did not addapt to the competition.

if you look at sweet sole at the entrance of the green mango. it is allways packed.. and every year the owner changes the decor the bar positions and the staff uinforms and even the lighting so he can keep up withe the competition.

As debated in another thread and as pointed out by another poster. the fact that in some places you don't see tourist does not mean that they are not in other places on the island.

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some posters have argues that Samui is not cheap anymore. to those i say ... you have been here to long..

the price of everything in samui is much cheaper then those countries whee the tourists originate from.

the gasoline, food, clothing and accommodation and going out to party is much much cheaper here.

the long haul airlines are now reduce prices and there are now tickets for a s low as 600 Euro from western Europe to Thailand.

at the end of the day.. having a vaction in thailnd is still more value for money then going to other "tropical destinations"

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Not only tourists suffer from not having a job in Europe Australia etc and not so much money for travel. Also people living in Thailand with a pension or savings now must not spend so much with a very strong Baht. My man only got 45 baht for one pound with his bank yesterday. befor 2 years he got 70 or more. Thailand is very expensive now for tourists. Return fklight to BKK from Samui 9,000 Baht, that is almsot 200 pounds....too expensive. Everywhere will suffer not only Samui or Thailand but all tourist destination worldwide. :o

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Not only tourists suffer from not having a job in Europe Australia etc and not so much money for travel. Also people living in Thailand with a pension or savings now must not spend so much with a very strong Baht. My man only got 45 baht for one pound with his bank yesterday. befor 2 years he got 70 or more. Thailand is very expensive now for tourists. Return fklight to BKK from Samui 9,000 Baht, that is almsot 200 pounds....too expensive. Everywhere will suffer not only Samui or Thailand but all tourist destination worldwide. :o

They are doing a special THANKs fare atm - 2750 Bht One Way to BKK - 5500 Bht Return

Guess that helps a little, be interesting to see how long they run with this.

Hopefully the western $-Pound-Euro get a little stronger over the next months this should hel as well but probably unlikely to move much.

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Per a reliable source, Centara (ex. Central Hotel Chaweng) last year same time was booked out (200+ rooms). Now they have 52 rooms only full. Their lost income is approx. 150 rooms @ 10,000++ night = 1,500,000 baht per DAY less than last year same period. That is 1.5 mill baht per DAY "lost"!?!?!?

They have 300+ staff! A horrendous loss vs last year!

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Per a reliable source, Centara (ex. Central Hotel Chaweng) last year same time was booked out (200+ rooms). Now they have 52 rooms only full. Their lost income is approx. 150 rooms @ 10,000++ night = 1,500,000 baht per DAY less than last year same period. That is 1.5 mill baht per DAY "lost"!?!?!?

They have 300+ staff! A horrendous loss vs last year!

others will tell you that samui is doing ok and that centara obviously are n't running their business very well..................but there's nothing like the plan truth,tourism is probably down 50% at the minimum and it will get worse.Huge resorts may still be being built,clubs,bars and restuarants being renovated but they better have a lot of cash to tidy themselves over in the meantime.

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Good news to all these empty rooms means you have more bargaining power...

Ive had reports of people getting at least 15% off the price of the room because the hotels are desperate!

That 15% off the room price helps makes up for the awful exchange rates at the moment.

Edit: First post, hello all :o

Edited by Bearo
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Already 6 people from U.K we know must go back as they can not live with the exchange rate now. Not only from Samui but BKK also....this will happen a lot more in the next few months. Relationships are strained because of money not so much anymore

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Per a reliable source, Centara (ex. Central Hotel Chaweng) last year same time was booked out (200+ rooms). Now they have 52 rooms only full. Their lost income is approx. 150 rooms @ 10,000++ night = 1,500,000 baht per DAY less than last year same period. That is 1.5 mill baht per DAY "lost"!?!?!?

They have 300+ staff! A horrendous loss vs last year!

others will tell you that samui is doing ok and that centara obviously are n't running their business very well..................but there's nothing like the plan truth,tourism is probably down 50% at the minimum and it will get worse.Huge resorts may still be being built,clubs,bars and restuarants being renovated but they better have a lot of cash to tidy themselves over in the meantime.

Actually, I don't see that many people not saying tourism isn't down. In fact, given the economic climate, its down everywhere. But does a down season or even a few down seasons imply the "death" of Samui tourism?

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