Group launches campaign to lure shoppers back to Ratchaprasong

Economy January 31, 2014 00:00

By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
The Na

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The Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) will roll out a confidence-boosting campaign involving hotels, shopping malls and 3,000 stores in the area as the protracted political protests have slashed sales by half.

The association has urged the caretaker government to lift the emergency decree as soon as possible, as it has had a serious psychological impact on foreigners, especially businesspeople, planning to visit Bangkok. 
Chai Srivikorn, RSTA president, said yesterday that spending by local and foreign shoppers in the area had been diluted by 50 per cent from the usual more than Bt300 million per day.
“However, this mass demonstration staged by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee since January 13 has had less damage than the rally held by the red-shirt protesters about four years ago. 
“This time, 100 per cent of tenant stores as well as restaurants at the shopping venues have been operating normally. The main concern is traffic, as visitors have been facing inconvenience in accessing the area,” he said.
The demonstrations, which led the government to slap emergency rules on Greater Bangkok, have caused foreign tourists, especially businesspeople, to cancel their trips to the capital.
Sales at major stores, especially hypermarkets, in the area have sunk by 50 per cent, and by 60 per cent for restaurants. Occupancy rates at major hotels in the area have slumped from 85-90 per cent to only 20 per cent. Only 800 guest rooms out of the 4,000 available in the area are filled at the moment. 
Credit-card spending in the area is off 30-40 per cent. 
However, the situation has rebounded to a certain level, Chai said.
The RSTA yesterday launched the “Ratchaprasong Chinese Festival” running until the end of February, which offers attractive promotions covering all dining, shopping and leisure activities in the area.