Airbnb upbeat about local tourism boost

Airbnb upbeat about local tourism boost

Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya among popular bookings

People play rugby on the beach in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan on Sunday. (Reuters photo)
People play rugby on the beach in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan on Sunday. (Reuters photo)

Increasing hotel bookings by guests have signalled the revitalisation of domestic travel as the government gradually unlocks restrictions to keep the coronavirus outbreak in check, Airbnb said.

The home-sharing platform found the reservations on accomodation in the country increased by 13% between May 31 and June 6, compared to the same period of last year. Top locations were Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phetchaburi, it added.

The room-booking service did not go into details on the dates when the travellers will check in.

Kum Hong Siew, the regional director in charge of Asia-Pacific of Airbnb, said the figures indicated the comeback of local tourism after travel had been banned to prevent the spread of the virus.

He expected the local tourism sector to be vibrant in the near future, with destinations closer to home becoming the priority of travellers.

The government has lifted the curfew and inter-provincial travel after the number of virus infection cases and deaths have steadily dropped.

It will offer a 3,000-baht subsidy on 5 million hotel rooms and a 40% discount on airline tickets to Thai tourists next month, under a 20-billion-baht programme to revitalise the tourism industry.

A Suan Dusit poll conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University released on Sunday found most respondents believed tourism would return to normal in one year but they opposed opening the country for foreign tourists due to fears of a virus rebound.

Tourism was one of the major drivers of the Thai economy before Covid-19 put a halt to it. It is usually estimated to account for 20% of GDP.

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