Over recent years, Hua Hin tourism has enjoyed a boom with Thai holidaymakers. The number of tourist arrivals rose 21.8 percent YoY to 2.4 million in 2011, from 1.97 million in 2010, before soaring 35.6 percent YoY to 3.25 million in 2012. KResearch believes that this uptrend will continue well into 2013 due to several factors. This Thai resort town is not only filled with destinations appealing to tourists; it can also be accessed via convenient transportation links. Among foreign tourists, Hua Hin has also become increasingly well-known in recent years. Visitors from Europe, e.g., Scandinavia, Germany and the UK, accounted for over 50 percent of the 2012 international arrivals to Hua Hin.
With the ongoing trend, KResearch estimates that Hua Hin's tourism will grow 17.2 percent in 2013 to a total of 4.825 million. Of this number, 3.825 will be domestic visitors, and another 1 million international guests. The town will likely reap THB27 billion in income, a 19.1 percent rise YoY.
Despite seemingly upbeat prospects, the economic slowdown and rocketing living costs, along with rising household debt have resulted in Thai holidaymakers becoming more careful toward spending, especially those intending a family vacation or group of friends travelling together. During the school holidays of October, Hua Hin is expected to be among the top destinations. We at KResearch forecast that the number of tourists there in October will increase 14.3 percent YoY, to around 460,000. They are expected to bring about THB2.4 billion revenue to local businesses, or up 17.7 percent YoY.
Given that Hua Hin has increasingly become a destination for overnight trips made by Thai travelers, the hotel industry will definitely see higher profit. KResearch estimates that of the total THB2.4 billion expected to be spent by Thai visitors to Hua Hin this month, 22 percent or equivalent to THB530 million will be garnered by hotels and resorts there. In 2013, the total number of tourists using lodging there will likely total 2.89 million, rising 17.6 percent YoY. This estimate, however, would be a drop from 2012, when they had surged 52 percent YoY to 2.46 million.
A factor responsible for this slowing rate is the fact that more and more Thais are investing in a place of their own at Hua Hin – e.g., condos and houses; this trend is particularly notable among many Bangkok residents that suffered during the severe 2011 flooding. As for foreign tourists, some do stay at serviced condominiums/apartments, rather than hotels.
Due to stiff pricing competition, hotel operators have tried to adjust by adopting appealing selling points, along with raising service standards and the use of online marketing. Exciting opportunities exist for event hosting, e.g., weddings and honeymoon celebrations, meetings and conferencing, as well as marketing activities. Hotel operators have also tried to tap into organizations that hold annual parties for their employees. Such moves should help improve occupancy rates and bolster hotel revenues there.