Koh Samui Thriving After the Tsunami with Land Prices Increasing Nearly Seven Times!
28/03/06 The Nation
In The aftermath of the tsunami in December 2004, many tourists have switched from the Andaman coast to resorts on the Gulf of Thailand and property prices in some popular provinces have soared.
Increased attention from hotel chain operators and investors has driven property value on Koh Samui, in Surat Thani province, to Bt10 million from Bt1.5 million per rai and demand for hotel accommodations has surpassed supply.
A Surat Thani provincial treasury official, Suwanna Submee, said that following the tsunami, the province be came crowed with tourists, which drove up property prices.
She said the appraisal office had surveyed both treasury and concession land, particularly that formerly used for tin mining, and plans are to develop these areas to add value to the land and to serve the province’s growing tourism industry.
Suwanna said the office was planning to expand the survey to include Koh Pangan, a popular tourist spot for full moon parties, close to Koph Samui.
However, investment in Koh Samui is controlled mainly by foreign investors and hotel chains planning to set up hotels and resorts for foreign tourist, many of them form Europe.
Samui Tourist Coordination Center head Panu Voramitr said there were currently 12,879 serviced rooms on the island, all of them booked in advance.
“There are about 30,000 tourists coming to the island, mainly from the EU countries, Scandinavia and Japan, who have shifted from the Andaman coast,” he said.
Rising demand has led to complaints from tourists about high room rates and food prices, but more competition is expected to solve that problem in the near future, Panu said.
Meanwhile, property prices in Chiang Mai, one of the more popular tourist spots and Lamphun remain unchanged due to negative factors such as rising oil prices and construction raw materials.
Vatchara tantranont, president of Chiang Mai-Lamphan property trades association, said political turmoil was another factor slowing down property prices in the provinces. Total investment in the property sector reached Bt10 billion last year.
Focus by housing project developers has been on capturing foreigners who are interested in purchasing a second home in Thailand.