Forward bookings start to gather pace

Forward bookings start to gather pace

Tourists from Russia are greeted by airport officials on arrival at Phuket International Airport.
Tourists from Russia are greeted by airport officials on arrival at Phuket International Airport.

Forward bookings towards year-end holidays in major tourism destinations have started to gather pace, while operators in Pattaya submitted a petition to the government to lift the ban on alcohol.

Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) southern chapter, said more hotels plan to reopen next month, but areas like Karon and Kata which rely on the Russian market will remain closed.

The island might not see a large volume of Russian tourists this year as tour operators are not confident to operate charter flights due to uncertainties over the virus situation in Russia.

The number of active hotels in Phuket doubled to 1,000 hotels with 100,000 rooms this month.

He said the occupancy rate for this month should close at 20%, before increasing to 30% in December as hotels have already received up to 70% forward bookings for Christmas.

Hotels in Phuket previously discounted room rates by 70% due to the heavy tourism slump, however, the average rate recently picked up by 50% from the 2019 level.

"Hoteliers will use the remainder of this year as a springboard for the whole high season until March for the international market and until Songkran in April for the domestic market to sustain business through the low season," Mr Kongsak said.

Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said forward bookings reached 50-60%, accounting for 8,000 room nights from 1,000 tourists, while the occupancy rate is expected to reach 60-70% in December.

Meanwhile the first Russian charter flight from Pegas Touristik will arrive at Surat Thani airport on Dec 25.

There are more enquiries from guests, while the occupancy rate for December is projected at 50% with the number of tourists at 10,000 per month, said Phisut Sae-Khu, president of THA's eastern chapter.

As of Nov 11, Pattaya welcomed 2,332 international travellers since Nov 1.

Regarding the alcohol ban, Mr Phisut said drinking alcohol during meals should not be considered an activity with high risk of virus spread as it's not comparable to illegal parties which need more stringent controls by the authorities.

On Nov 11, Pattaya operators under eight tourism-related associations submitted a letter to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn seeking relaxation on alcohol sales at Safety and Health Administration (SHA) or SHA Plus certified venues.

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