While Phuket has seen a landslide in direct China airlift over the past five years the nearby island of Samui has quietly been on the sidelines given tight controls on flights.
News in the Bangkok Post is that service on Bangkok Airways between Chengdu to Samui will start next month with four weekly flights. Two other routes Guangzhou and Chongqing are pending approval but expected to come online this year.
While airlift from China to Samui has mainly focused on charter flights, there has been a rapid growth in Mainland numbers to the market over the past few years via nearby Surat Thani.
According to press reports Bangkok Airways had the option between Samui or Bangkok to stage the flights but opted for the former given less competition in the market.
According to C9 Hotelworks research on Samui, Mainland China is the fastest growing geographic source of tourists, vastly outpacing other global or regional segments.