Strong bookings revive hotels

Strong bookings revive hotels

Tourism fires up for long holiday weekend

All aboard: Cars queue up at a pier waiting to board a ferry to Koh Chang in Trat yesterday, the first day of a four-day holiday. Hotels and resorts on the island were about 90% booked.
All aboard: Cars queue up at a pier waiting to board a ferry to Koh Chang in Trat yesterday, the first day of a four-day holiday. Hotels and resorts on the island were about 90% booked.

Heavy bookings at hotels and resorts have reignited hopes of a speedy revival of tourism deeply bruised for months by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Accommodation in the southern provinces in particular are packed with holidaymakers this long weekend.

The hotels and resorts in some coastal provinces in the East and seaside provinces in the South have reported a surge in bookings to 80% and 90% over the four-day long weekend which kicked off yesterday, according Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

In Rayong, where a Covid-19-infected Egyptian airman had stayed and sparked a public scare about two weeks ago, a large banner was put up in Muang district thanking people nationwide for supporting the province through the crisis.

It has been 14 days since the latest scare and none of those who came into contact with the Egyptian airman came down with an infection. Rayong is now free of Covid-19, said Thawip Saengkrachang, president of tambon Taphong administrative organisation.

Rayong people and tourism business operators appreciate the moral support from other provinces and positive coverage by the media. Many visitors also took a trip to the province to help the tourism industry, he said.

"That has been nursing Rayong's tourism back to health again. We Rayong people now feel more encouraged to move on," he said.

Phong-amon Chanphrai, director of the TAT office there, said Rayong, one of 10 provinces which makes more than 30 billion baht in tourism income each year, suffered a heavy slump from the Egyptian airman-triggered scare.

Hotel booking rates are mostly back to normal.

In Pattaya, several large beachfront hotels say their bookings have jumped to a strong 90% from July 24-28, according to a local tourism industry source.

Pattaya is one of the most popular seaside destinations when it comes to spending a holiday as it is close to Bangkok. The heavy hotel bookings are believed to be a result of sales promotions and the Rao Thiew Duay Kan (Let's Take A Trip Together) tourism campaign where the government offers subsidies for people's holidays, the source said.

In Trat, hotels and resorts on Koh Chang and Koh Kut islands were close to booked out. The province's two ferry piers were yesterday jam-packed with cars waiting to board a ferry to the islands.

A tourist from the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket said the long queue did not bother her because, after coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown, she looked forward to taking a holiday.

In Phuket, Naphason Khakhai, director of the TAT's provincial office, said about 6,000 mostly Thai tourists visited the resort island during the previous long weekend from July 4-7 when more than 30 million baht circulated in the province.

She said she expected the current long weekend will pump even more tourism money into the local economy.

The province also expects about 50,000 medical and health workers to tour the province and take advantage of the government-sponsored Kamlang Chai (moral support) tourism programme. it provides a discount for 1.2 million medical and health workers nationwide as incentive for them to travel.

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