The West Sands Resort and Villas in Thailand's Phuket has attracted strong investment interest from Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China since it was put for sale earlier this month, according to JLL Hotels and Hospitality, who is leading the sale.
The only resort on the Island with it own Integrated Water Park, the West Sands Resort and Villas occupies a prime freehold 113 Rai or 18 hectare beachfront site at Mai Khao Beach near the newly expanded Phuket International airport.
"The strongest interest to date has been from Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China as well as domestic Thai groups who know better than anyone the scarcity of West Coast beach front real estate in Phuket," says Mike Batchelor, Managing Director of JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group. "The potential to secure a Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) privilege, which would allow 100-percent foreign ownership of the hotel and the land, was also of great appeal to the foreign investors reviewing the opportunity."
"The enquiries signaled the healthy investment appetite for hotel assets in Asia Pacific," he adds.
The master-planned resort, with its large land holdings, provides numerous expansion opportunities for both the existing hotel and waterpark with the original plans for a development of up to 1,000 keys. The hotel asset currently has 575 keys. The site could be further developed to include condominiums and villas, fractional or vacation ownership or a senior living component.
According to Batchelor, the completion of the new airport terminal in June will be a game changer for the popular Island resort destination. Phuket currently has direct flights to 14 countries and 43 cities around the world, including 19 cities in China and has been operating at capacity for some time. The new terminal, which is scheduled to open later this year, will be able to handle five million additional passengers annually. It is expected to ease passenger traffic at the airport, which has been handling 6.5 million passengers annually - twice the number for which it has been designed.
Phuket is Thailand's largest island and its tourism industry has benefitted from increased international arrivals, in particular those from Mainland China. Chinese inbound arrivals into Thailand have grown at a rate of 47.7 percent annually over the last five years.
"The Tourism Authority of Thailand aims to further grow arrivals to Phuket by targeting first time visitors from established European markets as well as emerging Eastern European countries. We expect visitors arrivals to increase, facilitated by the expansion of the airport," says Batchelor.
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