Hua Hin, Cha-am face Test & Go challenge

Hua Hin, Cha-am face Test & Go challenge

Foreign arrivals a fraction of 2019

Local children play on Cha-am beach in Phetchaburi province. (Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai)
Local children play on Cha-am beach in Phetchaburi province. (Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai)

The resort cities of Hua Hin and Cha-am are expecting soft reopening throughout the final quarter with 5% of the overall international arrivals in 2019.

Nithee Seeprae, TAT deputy governor for digital research and development, said travellers cannot visit the areas directly under the Test & Go scheme as the destinations are located more than a two-hour drive from Bangkok.

He said total visitors during the first three days of the country's reopening were 2,000 per day on average, mainly at Suvarnabhumi airport.

So far, there are no arrivals in Hua Hin and Cha-am as most tourists are more likely choose Hua Hin, Pran Buri and Thap Sakae districts as their second destination.

Prior to the pandemic, Hua Hin and Cha-am welcomed 1 million and 500,000 foreign travellers per year, respectively.

Mr Nithee said the two areas, which mostly rely on domestic tourists, might not attract a large share of the of international market like Phuket.

He said AirAsia is currently considering operating flights from Kuala Lumpur to Hua Hin, which could generate more demand from Malaysian golfers, while Jetstar also plans to launch operations from Singapore to Hua Hin by next year.

"Bookings from Thailand Pass will be seen after Nov 10 with operators expecting 500-1,000 travellers per month with spending per trip doubling to 80,000 baht, and the average length of stay of seven days," said Krod Rojanastien, president of the Thai Spa Association and head of the Hua Hin Recharge programme.

The occupancy rate in Hua Hin is now around 30%, but will increase to 60% in the last two months, particularly in December with more international demand.

Karun Suttharomn, acting president of the Tourism Council of Phetchaburi, said hotels are conducting marketing campaigns to attract more tourists in December.

Besides the foreign market, Mr Karun said that the occupancy rate would grow to 70-75% this month thanks to strong domestic market.

Cha-am will take until February to see more international travellers, with 20,000 expected a month.

The government is currently ramping up mass vaccination to avoid another lockdown, said Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

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