Bangkok Airways re-launches China to Samui routes
Thailand’s boutique airline, Bangkok Airways is preparing to re-launch flight paths linking China to various destinations in Thailand. The carrier is particularly focused on re-establishing the link between China and the luxury tourism hub that is Koh Samui.
In July 2016, Bangkok Airways re-launched its first mainland China service in seven years, according to a report in the Bangkok Post. There are now flights between Samui and Chengdu four times a week. New routes are also in the pipeline, including a flight path between Samui and Guangzhou which will begin in November. There will also be a new link between Samui and Chongqing, offering three weekly flights starting from December, according to the airline’s president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth.
Visitors from China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and India top the list of international arrivals to Thailand. It therefore follows that Bangkok Airways would place such a focus on introducing new flight paths to cater for visitors from one of its chief source markets.
In the first half of this year, the airline recorded a 22 percent growth in the number of Chinese visitors travelling to Koh Samui, and Chinese arrivals increased by 13 percent in the second quarter.
While Koh Samui has long been a high-end destination of choice for visitors from around the globe, the island’s businesses are keen to carve a special niche for Chinese visitors and avoid the intense competition and mass tourism trends seen in other holiday destinations across Asia.
Thanks to its reputation for high-end accommodation and a growing speciality for luxury boutique options, Koh Samui appeals to a more independent mind set. The island is also home to an impressive range of upscale private villas, and a growing number of Chinese visitors are choosing to stay in these private properties, which often rival hotels in terms of the selection of facilities on offer.