THE HOTEL SECTOR in twin resort towns Hua Hin and Cha-am is calling on authorities to promote the destinations internationally in a bid to lure back tourists after business dropped following the series of deadly bomb attacks in Southern Thailand in August
Udom Srimahachota, adviser to the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and owner of the Baan Talay Dao Resort in Hua Hin, said Hua Hin and Cha-am would remain popular destinations for tourists especially Westerners because they offered up to 30 per cent lower prices compared to other tourist destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui.
He said the bomb blasts in Hua Hin and six other tourist areas of the South had caused a short-term impact with local and foreign tourist numbers down, but foreign tourists had begun to return.
He said the average hotel occupancy rate for the entire year in Hua Hin was forecast at 55-60 per cent and was expected to climb to 70-80 per cent in the high season – a return to normal.
Udom said hotel operators had urged authorities to promote Hua Hin and Cha-am in emerging markets including China and India. More South Korea and Hong Kong tourists are also expected to descend on the destinations during the coming peak season.
“In order to develop Hua Hin and Cha-am to become international destinations, the private sector in the areas is calling on the government to develop a logistic system by developing an airport in Hua Hin as an international airport to link with neighbouring countries especially Singapore and Malaysia, as well as other provinces,” he said.
He said Hua Hin could also be promoted as a wellness destination and link to destinations including the newly opened Myanmar.
Christian Wurm, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin and The Barai, said the hotel was confident of securing customers during the peak season at the same level as last season.
He based that on the number of in-coming bookings from core markets.
Wurm said half the property’s guests were local and the other half foreigners, mostly from Germany, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
The Chinese market is significantly increasing, he added.
“Hua Hin is represented as a wellness and golf destination. These services can attract many visitors,” he said.
Suchin Jienjitlert, vice president of THA and the operator of the River Kwai Village in Kanchanaburi province, said the hotel began targeting the Myanmar market this month by joining a travel consumer fair in Yangon in a bid to capture big-spending customers.
The hotel is offering a package to the Myanmar market that includes a Thai spa experience.
Many Myanmar visitors love visiting Bangkok for shopping, Suchin said.
“Myanmar is our new market. We are moving to take advantage of a new motorway being constructed that will link Kanchanaburi and Myanmar over the next five years,” Suchin said.
The Comsaed River Kwai Resort and Spa in Kanchanaburi said it had just completed a renovation worth Bt30 million in order to keep attracting free individual travellers and to increase its local meeting and confersence business.