Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tsunami hit areas rise again

Nearly a year on from the Boxing Day Tsunami communities in Thailand are starting to rebuild, relying heavily on the return of tourists to the region to fund regeneration. In particular the holiday home market is getting back on its feet, excellent news for the picturesque towns relying on investment from rich foreigners.

Phuket is a case in point. Pre-Tsunami, the town relied heavily on foreigners buying second homes and spending their money in the community - to the extent that 75% of the town's income was raised this way.

The Tsunami changed all of this immediately, and with catastrophic results. Not only was the money not there for everyday things, the money was not there for the massive amount of rebuilding required. Fortunately, and thanks to the efforts of a very determined marketing campaign, this is changing. New estate agents are opening up in the resort and rebuilding is underway. In fact a visit to Phuket will reveal surprisingly little physical damage visible, but this doesn't mean potential buyers don't still need to be vigilant.

Despite stricter planning regulations, there are still some rogue traders trying to make a fast profit from foreign investors, so contact reputable agents before even considering investment in Thai properties.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cancun pulling out the stops for New Year trade

Once a popular destination for winter sun-seekers, the Mexican resort was virtually destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in October. Yet following an impressive rebuild operation 50% of the hotels in Cancun are expected to be open for business at the start of the New Year.

Whilst it is vital for the fate of the resort that tourists start returning, the most damage was done to Cancun's biggest attraction - the famous beach. Once 80m wide in places, this has dwindled to just 20m as the storms washed away the sand. Perversely it was the very construction of the hotels that made such devastation possible, as concrete foundations replaced the grassland that held together the complex structure.

Yet whilst there is concern that developers are following the same doomed path by throwing up new hotels on the same sites as those so recently destroyed, every effort is being taken to draw tourists back to the typically poor region, even to the extend that sand is being reclaimed from the sea and deposited back on the site of the famous beach.