The inaugural flight of Thai Airways International from Bangkok to Samui on February 15, 2008, will be a major boost for Samui tourism this year. This new route will provide travelers with a more convenient mode of transportation - regarded as a key weakness to tourism for the resort island. Until now, there has been only one airline operating direct flights to this popular tourist attraction, while it takes quite a long time to travel there via other modes, not to mention the higher expense as a result of steep oil prices. KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) projects that tourist arrivals to the resort island of Samui will likely reach some 1.14 million visitors in 2008, a year-on-year increase of 6.1 percent, generating around THB16 billion in tourism-related revenue, rising by 6.7 percent over 2007. This will be beneficial to various businesses on the island, particularly accommodations, which may experience rising occupancy rates. Other beneficiaries would include tourism-related businesses such as food and beverages, souvenir shops and entertainment, plus public transport on the island as well as guided tour companies. In the matter of public transport business, airlines are expected to enjoy better business performance at the expense of other forms of transport.
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