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Send positive message to halt Bangkok's tourism decline, hote

The junta needs to bolster tourists' confidence to save hotels in the capital, said Marc Begassat, general manager of Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel.

"Giving vision is the most important [thing] to help restore the tourism sector. Vision can be from the government or the tourism authority," he said.

He added that people outside the country may not know about the real situation and could misunderstand, so government leaders should provide them with the right messages. This is the best kind of communication during a crisis.

Hotels in Bangkok have suffered for three weeks since the Army seized power and slowed travel businesses to a crawl. Pullman King Power lost 1,500 booked room-nights, causing the occupancy rate to drop from 70-75 per cent in June last year to 50 per cent this month.

Key affected markets are mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore, while Japan and long-haul markets remain unchanged.

To cut its losses, the hotel is targeting its promotions mainly at locals. It is offering online bookings from Bt2,590 and up, down from Bt2,873, through the end of July. Moreover, it has added more optional deals for meetings such as waiving guarantees for advance booking. However, Begassat believes that tourists will return to Bangkok soon as the curfew is eased and the political environment improves. So far, overall business will not better than earlier year when just rebounded from great inundation.

"Thailand has experienced many crises such as airport closures, natural disasters, political chaos, and this year's coup, but the country [has been] able to recover very fast."

Other factors are a variety of tourism products as well as the city's strategic location, only three to five hours' flying time to major cities in Asia such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Kunming and Shanghai.

The hotel plans to complete a renovation by next year, which features expansion of the lobby and meeting rooms, and refreshing all guest rooms.


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