Thai properties thrive on growing tourist numbers, infrastructure projects

With tourist inflows hitting nine figures in the next few years, the kingdom’s award-winning resort and hospitality projects are poised to multiply even further

Phi Phi Island, Thailand. Mister Din/Shutterstock

Carpeted with temple complexes and nightlife haunts, Thailand has taken on the repute of an equal-opportunity crowd-pleaser. Tourism has always been the country’s forte, more than any nation in Southeast Asia. A record-breaking 38.3 million visitors streamed into the kingdom last year, with more than 40 million tourists expected for 2019.

Bangkok alone has been the world’s most visited city for three years in a row, topping the likes of tourist favourites London and Paris. Approximately 24.6 million international visitors streamed into Bangkok in 2018.

The banks of the Chao Phraya River have become a confluence point for hospitality projects, “capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” according to Atakawee Choosang, head of capital markets for CBRE Hotels in Thailand. The riverside ICONSIAM mixed-use development, for instance, opened last year in lavish, three-day ceremonies reportedly worth THB1 billion (USD31.3 million).

In addition to the Chao Phraya, sugary beaches remain drawcards of Thai tourism. The lines between tourism and property-seeking continue to blur into each other in such destinations as Phuket, Koh Pah Ngan, Koh Tao, Samui, and Pattaya, with their abundant inventories of hotels, resorts, villas, condominiums, and serviced residences.

Phuket drew over nine million passenger arrivals from flights last year: an 8 percent year-on-year increase. As of March, a total of 8,023 keys are in the hotel pipeline for the world-famous resort, according to hospitality consultancy C9 Hotelworks.

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Among the most widely anticipated projects in Phuket is the Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort, winner of Best Hotel Development at last year’s PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards. Due 2020, the project by Apex Development Pcl contains the first Sheraton-branded residential properties in Thailand, The Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay, which won the award for Best Condo Development (Phuket).

Meanwhile, 2,645 keys are expected to enter the Greater Pattaya market through 2024, C9 Hotelworks reported. The entire province itself, Chonburi, saw visitors to its hotels grow at a CAGR of seven percent between 2012 and 2017.

Chonburi is an important cog in Thailand’s ambitious Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

“In the long run, we expect infrastructure investment including U-Tapao International Airport and the high-speed rail system to help attract new waves of tourism and MICE to the Eastern Economic Corridor,” stated Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

Overall, the success of resort property markets in Thailand hinges on the completion of crucial air transport infrastructures. The second phase of the Phuket International Airport expansion, to be completed by 2022, is likely to spur further market moves in the island.

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Similarly, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport will undergo a THB140-billion expansion — the better to accommodate the projected 100 million tourists visiting the kingdom annually by 2024.

“There is confidence in the built environment in Thailand that makes entrepreneurs, consumers and business owners choose our country,” said Prayoth Benyasut, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, at last year’s PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards gala dinner.

“I encourage Thai developers to always champion sustainable growth to allow related industries to progress even further.”

Know of any exemplary development in Thailand? Nominate those projects to the PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards, now in its 14th year of recognising the kingdom’s best properties. Entry submissions close on 14 June. Find more details: