New developments will boost visitor numbers at this popular Thai beach resort
Krabi Province on the south west coast of Thailand is heading into the new tourist “high season”, the busiest period of the year for those in the hospitality industry, that runs annually from November to April. And this season Krabi looks like being more in demand than ever.
With most major international hotel groups now having a presence in the region – the latest being a 206 room Ibis Styles set to open in Ao Nang this month - as well as an influx of stylish boutique resorts, Krabi is now firmly on the international tourist radar.
The Scandinavian and northern European tourists that once made up the majority of Krabi’s visitors are now being joined by large numbers from the ASEAN community: Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia; as well as the emerging travel markets of China and India.
This growth is driven largely by airline investment. Regional flights continue to dominate Krabi Airport’s expansion, with direct links to Guangzhou in China, Penang in Malaysia and more flights to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur all being launched this year. The number of charter flights from Russia, Europe and China have also increased, while low cost carriers such as Tiger Airways are facilitating travel to Krabi from Australia, with their connecting flight packages.
Meanwhile, investment on the ground is making Krabi more attractive and helping it to compete with other Thai beach destinations. Krabi Nakharin, the new international hospital in town that opened in early 2014, has already made the area more appealing to retirees and other long-stay visitors, while malls such as the recently expanded Premium Outlet Village offer more shopping choice.
Krabi Riviera Co., Ltd, Krabi’s leading villa management company, has six new villas on its books for this high season, including three absolute beachfront properties – a rarity in Krabi, and the only ones to be located within five minutes drive of Ao Nang, the main tourist centre.
“Our focus this year will be on enriching our customer experience,” says Pierre-Yves Loriers, managing director of Krabi Riviera Villas. “The new villas are a direct response to our guests’ demands for beachfront rentals. We have recruited more villa managers to provide our signature concierge-style service; and have sourced new, luxury brand toiletries for all our beachfront villas – many of these have spa-style bathrooms, so we wanted to complete the experience.”
Guests in the beachfront villas will also have access to private island-hopping trips without lengthy overland transfers to a pier: Krabi Riviera has organized boat services to pick up guests directly from the beach in front of their rental.
The booking process has also been made simpler, with the Krabi Riviera website now available in 10 major languages, all with instant confirmation and secure online payment by credit card or PayPal.
The beach destination of Krabi Province in Thailand has been called “up and coming” for years. Perhaps now it is time to acknowledge it has finally arrived in the major league of Phuket, Pattaya and Samui.