Patong Beach, Phuket Phuket Strip The Thai island of Phuket posted record-high sales figures in the first half of 2012 and is expected to become Asia’s “premier resort destination,” according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotel’s managing director, Mike Batchelor. Investment in Phuket’s hotel property sector is expected to exceed THB 10 billion (US $315 million) by the close of this year.“Phuket has seen record investment in the first half of 2012 and the market looks on track to enter a renewed period of growth as savvy international investors strategically secure landmark properties in Asia’s premier resort destination,” Mr Batchelor said. For the first time ever, international visitor arrivals to Phuket outnumbered domestic arrivals.“With international passenger volumes surging 30 percent in 2011, the island’s international appeal remains strong. This growth has been fuelled by excellent air links and the expansion of low cost carriers across the region.” Increased frequencies and planned airport upgrades are additional factors inspiring growth and development for Phuket. US $180 million will be invested in updating Phuket’s airport facilities, aiming to double existing capacity to 12.5 million passengers per annum. Construction is planned for later this year. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels acquired three new Phuket properties this year; the Movenpick Resort and Spa in April, the Evason Phuket and Bon Island at Rawai in May and the Laguna Beach Resort in July. The prominent hotel group will launch a new five star property on Phuket’s west coast this week.