THA touts expat discounts
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THA touts expat discounts

1,000 baht off for 5,000 room nights

Expatriates in Thailand are becoming the target market for local hotels as the borders remain closed to international tourists.
Expatriates in Thailand are becoming the target market for local hotels as the borders remain closed to international tourists.

The Thai Hotels Association (THA) is introducing a stimulus campaign targeting expatriates by offering a 1,000-baht discount on 5,000 room nights and urging the government to move an existing domestic campaign onto e-commerce platforms.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, THA president, said the campaign is a bid to support the hotel industry during the tough economic situation, particularly after the debt moratorium ends in October.

The hotels in the new Expat Travel Bonus programme include THA members who have hotel licences and meet Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration Hygiene Standards.

Tourists are required to show their passport upon direct booking with participating hotels. The privilege is valid until Dec 31, 2020.

Mrs Marisa said the project is a joint promotion of the THA and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), with an aim to stimulate tourism while borders remain closed and political demonstrations loom larger.

Most hotels are believed to have settled the debt restructuring process with their creditors as banks seek to avoid non-performing loans, she said. But because the industry has bottomed out for almost a year now, it's still necessary for hotels to continue with a stimulus campaign.

Mrs Marisa said the association will urge hotels not to use the opportunity to raise room rates or quote unfair prices to expatriates who join the programme.

At a meeting with TAT representatives on Tuesday, the THA proposed a new model for the domestic We Travel Together campaign, using popular e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee as distribution channels.

The model reportedly had a successful run in Pattaya recently as 8,000 discount vouchers were sold out in July, prompting local operators to offer an additional 9,000 vouchers in August.

Mrs Marisa said the current methods for domestic campaigns aimed at Thais, requiring an e-wallet app and complicated processes, are preventing people from taking advantage of the benefits, particularly the elderly who may not be tech-savvy.

Tourism operators have also asked the government to increase the subsidy for local tourists in the scheme from 40% to 50% during weekdays and 60% for weekends.

The THA president said the ongoing political unrest should be settled soon to maintain positive tourism sentiment, particularly as the country takes a first step to reopening to international tourists this month.

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