Junta asked for steps ahead of high-season

Economy June 04, 2014 00:00

By Suchat Sritama

The Nation

6,259 Viewed

Thai Hotels Association (THA) is asking Military Junta to create recovery plans to restore confidence from international markets ahead of high season as seen very slow new booking for October and January.

The association urged military to release more tourist destination areas such as Chiang Mai as well as some part of the capital, following yesterday lifted Phuket, Surat Thani (Samui), and Chon Buri (Pattaya) as seen these are not in political pressure. Operator also suggested military to withdraw martial law if situation in control to return confidence to visitors.

"What we (operators) fear of are two issues. First is bad news coverage in overseas and remained travel advisories. These can stop hotel bookings or push them shift to other countries."

About 62 nations remained travel warnings mostly advised citizen to avoid or not to the kingdom.

According to president of THA, Surapong Techaruvichit, priority measures are included giving confidence for regular tourists those planned to make vacations in Thailand during the peak season. Moreover, they should lead private sector to organise shot term active plans such as fam-trip and site visit activities for foreign media and bloggers.

"Hotel operators see that new booking made for this year high season is in slow so we fear of the industry may drop that will damage our high season," said Surapong. Adding that Thai travel industry already dramatically drop since late last year when groups of protesters appeared in streets.

According to THA data, average hotel occupancy in Bangkok rate in first three-quarter last year was 70 per cent that showed some improvement from earlier year. But the figure plunged to only maximum of 40 percent this year. Meanwhile, average occupancy rates in key tourist cities like Phuket, Samui, and Pattaya downed by almost 50 per cent, from nearly 100 per cent to 60 per cent. Cancelled markets mostly were from short markets from East Asia as well as ASEAN region.

However, hotels and resorts in the North and Northeast seen less impact with a drop of 15-20 percent thanks to huge domestic travelling during Songkran Festival and New Year season.

Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), the inbound marketing body, is revising its marketing plans launched before coup and curfew. It is working with hotels and tour operators, refocusing on short haul and medium haul markets as part of urgent recovery plans. They will soon offers some promotions and special packages for key market including China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Long haul markets may need to see clearer picture and political improvement first.

According to a luxury hotel operator located along Chao Phraya River, political tension not only hit general tourism but also chased away business travellers. Despite eight hotels have joint hands and launched a package to attract business meeting and to relocate business travellers from city centre to stay along the river since April this year, but operator still disappoint as businessmen not come.