Flight constraints, drought may put damper on Bangkok’s Songkran

Economy April 06, 2016 01:00


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IT LOOKS like next week’s Songkran celebrations could be subdued as tourists from key markets can’t come to the Kingdom because of seat constraints plus the drought.

“Judging from the current situation, only some places will be bouncing this year. Bangkok is not looking so good,” Supawan Tanomkieatipume, the new president of the Thai Hotels Association, said yesterday.

Many Chinese and Japanese will not be able to come and celebrate the national water festival here because airlines are fully booked, she said.

This month, airlines will lay on fewer charter flights between China and Thailand because of lower demand from this country. More Thais are heading to other countries, particularly Japan.

Arrivals of Chinese on charter flights will be fewer than last year or maybe at a similar level.

Thais have booked most of the seats to and from Japan during the festival so Japanese cannot find a ticket to Thailand during that time.

The Thai New Year will be celebrated nationwide from April 13-15. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, however, has said it will shorten the period because of the water shortage.

Tourists from other places such as Hong Kong and Singapore should increase during Songkran.

The association expects occupancy at hotels in Bangkok to average 65-70 per cent, a slight drop from the same period last year.

Hotels in Pattaya will experience the same sentiment.

Chiang Mai will go as high as 90-95 per cent.

As the new president, Supawan said she would continue to help the government promote Thai food and fruits as part of the Pracha Rath project. She also wowed to crack down on non-registered hotels and businesses in order to enhance the country’s tourism image and standards as well as to help raise room rates.

Thailand’s average room rate is US$150 per night (Bt5,200), much lower than US$280 (Bt9,800) in Singapore.

The association will kick off a tourism database centre by compiling statistics on rooms from all hotels, legal and illegal, real market demand, hotel ad situations for each season and destination, and tourism problems.

The centre will be a one-stop unit. Better communications on multiple platforms, especially social media, are also in the plan.