Experts urge Bangkok to keep developing

Experts urge Bangkok to keep developing

From left Jesper Palmqvist, Apichart Chutrakul, and Bill Burnett at a conference on 'Megacity Bangkok — a tourism and hotel futurescape' held in Bangkok on Monday.
From left Jesper Palmqvist, Apichart Chutrakul, and Bill Burnett at a conference on 'Megacity Bangkok — a tourism and hotel futurescape' held in Bangkok on Monday.

Bangkok must leverage its tourism and hotel business if it wants to become a megacity in the next five years, industry experts told a panel yesterday.

Jesper Palmqvist, area director for Asia-Pacific at global research firm STR, said Bangkok will continue to grow in terms of hotel performance and infrastructure development. Positive investor and consumer sentiment will strengthen the tourism and hotel business in Bangkok and other major tourist destinations in the country.

"With almost three years of stable growth in terms of hotel performance, Bangkok has put the 2014 decline firmly behind it. In November 2017, revenue per available room [RevPAR] had grown 3.4% year-on-year, against a backdrop of a reasonably strong supply increase of 4.1%," said Mr Palmqvist.

Growth is supported by stable demand growth of around 5%, which the country has logged for 18 months after making a comeback in 2015. Hotels have also been able to increase rates by more than 2% even as competing products come to market, said STR.

This is not a short-term phenomenon: seven months in 2017 saw 10-year records in absolute RevPAR performance.

Mr Palmqvist said tourism will continue to grow going forward as the country offers a range of tourism products and services, especially in gastronomy, as Thai cuisine enjoys international renown, unlike the local cuisines of other countries in Southeast Asia.

"Not every hotel player will benefit form the large arrivals, however. Hotels in Bangkok's Sukhumvit area are underperforming compared with those in other parts of the city because of competition," he said.

Bill Burnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, said within the next five years Bangkok's electric subway will span 464 kilometres, longer than London's 402km and New York City's 380km.

As the East becomes the new West, access to the three international interconnected airports -- Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao -- will become essential.

"Bangkok will become the world's third accessible megacity after Beijing and Shanghai in the next five years," he said.

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