Industry experts revealed at the recent Thailand Tourism Forum that Bangkok is on the cusp of emerging as the world’s next “megacity”. Within five years, the rapid expansion of Bangkok’s subway system will succeed in opening up unprecedented spaces and with it huge opportunities for the travel and tourism industry.
The forecast isn’t been lost on real-estate developer Sansiri, which will bring one of the most dynamic New York hospitality brands to Bangkok – the Standard – in a major foray into hospitality.
Sansiri chief executive Apichart Chutrakul gave the opening address at the forum, on “Megacity Bangkok – A Tourism and Hotel Futurescape”.
Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks and a forum coorganiser, said the metro line across Greater Bangkok would be 464 kilometres long in five years.
“This will surpass London, which stands at 402km with their underground, and New York City’s 380km subway system. The great promise of the East has now become the new West. Important will be the access to three international, interconnected airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Utapao.”
Jesper Palmqvist, director of global research firm STR, said Bangkok was on “a strong growth trajectory” in terms of hotels and infrastructure.
“With almost three years of stable growth in terms of hotel performance, Bangkok has firmly put the 2014 decline far behind. By November 2017, RevPAR had grown 3.4 per cent year-over-year, and this against a backdrop of some reasonable strong supply increase at 4.1 per cent.
“The impressive numbers are held up by an ever-stable demand growth of around 5 per cent for 18 months after the comeback in 2015, but hotels have also been able to increase rates by more than 2 per cent, even with new competing product coming to market. But it’s not just shortterm – no less than seven of the months in 2017 saw 10-year records in absolute RevPAR performance.”
Other speakers and panellists included Dillip Rajakarier of Minor Hotel Group, Supoj Chaiwatsirikul of IconSiam, Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn of Horwath HTL, Thomas Schmelter of IHG Group and Mike Batchelor of JLL.