C. Thong to open new Pattaya hotel
C. Thong Panich Group will open its second hotel in Pattaya in April next year, four months later than planned, to respond to growing demand from Chinese tourists.
Called Renaissance Pattaya Hotel & Resort, the five-star hotel with 262 rooms is located on a 17-rai plot on Na Jomtien beach.
"Our new hotel will make Pattaya more lively. Only a few five-star hotels have been opened in the resort town in the past several years," said Vipavan Mahadumrongkul, managing director of C. Thong Panich, a leading watch distributor.
Under the uncertain economic environment, the company will delay its plan to build more hotels. However, about 120 million baht will be spent to renovate its 200-room Swissotel Le Concorde Hotel on Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek Road this year.
For its watch business, C. Thong Panich was appointed by Mondaine Watch Ltd, the owner of Luminox watch trademark, to distribute Luminox watches in the Thai market for three years (2016-18), replacing its previous distributor.
Andres Poy, regional manager of Luminox Asia Pacific, said he was surprised with the strong sales performance of Luminox in Thailand in the first four months of this year, which grew 15% year-on-year.
"Luminox is now available in 70 countries worldwide. But we never see 15% sales growth in other countries except Thailand, Mexico and Argentina. However, the economic downturn did not hit us so much because our watch has a specific target and loyal customers," he said.
The global slowdown has hit all Swiss-made watches, with a 30% drop in sales so far compared with the same period last year.
Mr Poy said Asia-Pacific had became the most important market for Luminox in the past few years. Asia contributed 35% of the global sales last, which the company expects will rise to 40% this year. In Asia, 7-8% of sales came from Thailand.
Mrs Vipavan said Luminox watches are available at 20 points of sales in retail stores and agents in Thailand.
The company plans to supply the brand to some government agencies such as the army and the police, similar to what is being offered in China, Australia, Singapore and Canada.
C. Thong distributes eight watch brands in the Thai market. The company saw flat watch demand in the first four months but with the recovery in tourism, sales have increased by 15-20% so far.
It expects total watch sales in 2016 to grow 5-7% from last year's 850 million baht.