ISIS terrorist warning fails to hurt Phuket occupancy

Phuket- A recently leaked memo warning of Islamic State terrorists being dispatched to Phuket has not affected hotel occupancy numbers, according to the Phuket Gazette, citing the director of the Thai Hotel Association's southern chapter.

"We surveyed occupancy levels at our hotels and saw no impacts that could be attributed to the warning about 10 IS members arriving in Thailand," Kritsada Tansakul said yesterday.

"Overall occupancy has stayed at 75 per cent, with 35 per cent coming from Western arrivals and the rest mostly coming from major Asian markets, such as China, Korea and India."

Though hotel cancellations remain unaltered, Kritsada voiced his concern about new tourists postponing their trips to Phuket.

"Following the Bangkok bombing and the terrorist attack in Paris, we asked all member hotels and resorts to fully co-operate with local security efforts and have guards report any suspicious activity to police immediately," he said.

Monrudee Gettuphan, director of Phuket International Airport, said airport security remained a top priority, with increased measures having military personnel and other security specialists at hand. Last week, Phuket Provincial Police commander Teeraphol Thipjaroen confirmed that all police forces on Phuket were on full alert and taking all necessary steps to prevent any attacks.

2016 will be the 'year of business traveller'

Carlson Wagonlit Travel says 2016 will be the year of the business traveller, as companies embrace new technologies and ways of working to improve satisfaction for their employee travellers.

According to the travel management company's study, "Travel Trends, Program Priorities: A Traveller-Centric 2016", safety and security will be high on the agenda next year.

Overall, 80 per cent of respondents expect such concerns to have a high or very high impact on their programmes. For the Asia-Pacific region, safety and security are also the top priority for 2016, with 75 per cent of those surveyed expecting them to have a high or very high impact.

The report says 63 per cent of travel managers expect mobile and wearable technology to have a big impact on their travel programmes next year.

Travel managers are looking for more data on traveller behaviour and programme performance.

About 58 per cent said they expected having more data to consolidate would affect their programmes.

Other trends identified as key to traveller experience are the sharing economy, virtual payment and big data. Low-cost carriers (LCCs) will also continue to have a high or very high impact on travel programmes in 2016, according to 53 per cent of surveyed travel managers. "Growth has been particularly dramatic in Asia-Pacific in recent years. In several domestic markets, such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, LCCs have taken over 60 per cent of capacity share.

"In business travel, their share of capacity has increased to 12 per cent overall but varies widely between countries, ranging from only a few per cent in Australia and Japan to the bulk of air bookings in Thailand and India," the report says.

Airlines continue to improve their profitability

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced its airline industry outlook for 2016 which sees an average net profit margin of 5.1 per cent being generated with total net profits of US$36.3 billion. IATA also announced a revision to its airline industry outlook for 2015 upwards to a net profit of $33 billion (4.6 per cent net profit margin) from $29.3 billion forecast in June.

The strengthening industry performance is being driven by a combination of factors, including lower oil prices, strong demand for passenger travel, and stronger economic performance in some key economies.

Efficiency gains by airlines are illustrated by record high load factors (80.6 per cent in 2015, tapering slightly to 80.4 per cent in 2016). Capacity is increasing and is expected to move ahead of demand growth in 2016. Yields, however, continue to deteriorate amid stiff competition.

"This is a good news story. The airline industry is delivering solid financial and operational performance. Passengers are benefiting from greater value than ever-with competitive airfares and product investments," said Tony Tyler, IATA's director-general and CEO.