KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
The Dominican Republic is one of the fastestgrowing Caribbean destinations with an 8% increase in visitor arrivals in 2008 and aims to reach 5 million by 2012. As a result, The World Tourism Organization named in 2008 the DR the “Caribbean’s No. 1 Destination,” ending Puerto Rico’s 40-year reign. According to the Minister for Tourism, 25% of all travellers to the Caribbean pick the Dominican Republic as their destination Not only is the nation committed to maintaining its status as one of the most reasonably priced Caribbean destinations, but millions of dollars of investment are going into everything from golf courses to marinas and from upscale shopping malls to sports facilities. Dominican Republic already has more golf courses than any other Caribbean destination, with courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Nick Faldo. There are 27 courses either operating now, under construction or in the planning stages. For investors, a combination of increasing tourist numbers, low property prices and occupancy rates that average above 85% in the most popular areas can only be good news.
The number of travellers who flock to Thailand for its white sandy beaches, tropical climate and friendly, relaxed atmosphere is increasing by 20% per year and Koh Samui will continue to attract a great proportion of these visitors. The island offers the amenities of a developed destination, yet manages to retain the feel of a romantic tropical island. This, combined with its year-round sunshine, low cost of living and great hospitality, has made the island one of the most sought-after holiday and retirement spots in the world. Several luxury resorts are planned for Koh Samui over the next five years, and aircraft seat capacity on international flights is expected to increase by 62% to accommodate the rise demand. The island is very accessible, with direct flights from Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and mainland China. Koh Samui has also adopted stringent building laws to protect the island’s natural beauty and to prevent the construction of the type of highrise developments which blight so many resorts around the world. This means that no buildings over three storeys can be built in certain areas and large properties cannot be developed on or near the beachfront.
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