Hoteliers seeking 2m room nights
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Hoteliers seeking 2m room nights

Move aims to shore up off-peak demand

Travellers queue to check-in with carriers at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok during the Songkran holiday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Travellers queue to check-in with carriers at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok during the Songkran holiday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

Hoteliers are calling for an additional 2 million room nights under the We Travel Together hotel subsidy campaign by May to shore up tourism demand during the off-peak season as the quota for the scheme's fourth phase was used up during the Songkran holiday.

"Tourism stimulus measures will play a crucial role in supporting the industry until the new high season arrives in the final quarter as operators are now facing an economic downturn from rising inflation and household debt," said Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA).

The association wants the campaign to continue into May to spur more new bookings during long holidays, including Labour Day and Visakha Bucha Day, after the remaining room nights were all used up by April 16, she said.

Under the current phase, the government subsidises 40% of room rates and some 2.69 billion baht has been used for the subsidy as of April 17.

Mrs Marisa said the government can lower its subsidy to 20-30% in order to use less budget and launch other incentives, such as tourism tax breaks for locals who stay at registered hotels to boost domestic trips.

Domestic tourists remain the key market for hoteliers now, despite the prospect of a rising number of international tourists following the government's move to ease Covid-19 entry restrictions.

Udom Srimahachota, vice-president of THA's western chapter, said economic benefits from the We Travel Together campaign are worth investing in with more budget as the scheme has attracted crucial recognition from locals.

Meetings and seminars from both state agencies and corporate groups are not active now as firms might prefer a "work from home" policy for at least 14 days to avoid infections in the workplace.

The new phase will help operators stay afloat and sustain travel sentiment despite the low purchasing power, particularly among family groups where parents have to save money for the opening of the new school term.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the agency will discuss with the Tourism and Sports Ministry about the possibility of launching the fifth phase as the campaign has received positive feedback from tourists and hoteliers, while the number of fraud cases has vastly dropped.

It depends on the remaining coffers while the new phase should run until September as the new tourist season is set to begin afterwards.

The proposal for the new phase of the scheme will be forwarded to the next meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration, expected to take place by the end of this month.

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