Bangkok Airways, SO/ Maldives eye growth in tourism boom
Bangkok Airways, SO/ Maldives eye growth in tourism boomLegacy

Bangkok Airways and luxury resort SO/ Maldives are optimistic about expanding their business in the Maldives, a popular destination among Thai tourists.

The Maldives achieved a significant milestone in tourism last year, welcoming over 1.8 million visitors, the highest number in a year, according to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corp.

Bangkok Airways resumed flights to the Maldives in September last year, recognising the islands as a prime destination for tourists. Chanthip Thongkanya, the airline office vice-president, highlighted the airline’s efforts to enhance strategic partnerships to promote travel to the Maldives. The airline operates four direct flights per week from Bangkok to Malé on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, using Airbus A319 aircraft that offer both economy and business class.

“Since resuming this route, we’ve accumulated 22,000 passengers as of the first quarter of this year with a load factor over 50%. We aim to increase the load factor on this route to 70% by the end of this year, bouncing back to the pre-pandemic level.”

Bangkok Airways is focusing on providing a comprehensive travel experience and maintaining sustainability. Passengers benefit from a 20-kilogramme maximum luggage allowance, and the airline has codeshares with over 29 airlines to help increase the load factor. The main nationalities travelling on this route include Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Maldivians, and Chinese, largely unaffected by the global economy due to their high purchasing power.

Oreste Traetto, resort manager of SO/ Maldives resort, stated that Maldives is among the leading destinations worldwide, presenting numerous business opportunities, reflected in the increasing number of hotels and resorts.

S Hotels and Resorts, the global hospitality arm of Singha Estate, launched the US$60-million (approximately 2.18 billion baht) SO/ Maldives luxury lifestyle resort in November 2023. This joint venture project, developed with Wai Eco World Developer (WEWD), is operated by Ennismore, a creative hospitality company.

“While SO/ Maldives is relatively new to the Maldivian market, we’re confident in the global recognition of our brand. We believe the Maldives is well-suited to our brand.”

Sustainable hospitality

SO/ Maldives distinguishes itself with a unique blend of fashion, environmental consciousness, and design. Traetto emphasised the importance of the human touch in their service, focusing on how their team listens and adapts to customer requirements. This approach, he said, embodies the true meaning of luxury.

Although the resort manager did not disclose the resort’s occupancy rate, he noted that it is slightly higher than other resorts in the same category. The top three nationalities of guests are Russians, Chinese, and Thais, with increasing interest from visitors from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and New Zealand.

“A robust business strategy necessitates a diverse market mix, providing us with a strong foundation for success.”

Russian tourists remain the primary visitors to the islands, with a significant presence of European and Iranian tourists as well. The resort is also eyeing an expansion into the European market during the winter season, catering to travellers seeking sunny destinations.

To reduce its environmental impact, SO/ Maldives has installed solar panels in 53 villas and three outlets, covering 45% of its energy consumption. The resort is working towards eco-label certifications and has eliminated single-use plastics from front-of-house operations, with plans to extend this to back-of-house areas, reported Bangkok Post.

“We’re working towards eco-label certifications and have eliminated single-use plastics from our front-of-house operations, with plans to extend this to back-of-house areas.”

The resort also engages in coral replanting and ocean cleaning efforts, collaborating closely with related parties to address issues such as coral bleaching.

The story Bangkok Airways, SO/ Maldives eye growth in tourism boom as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Puntid Tantivangphaisal