Hotel occupancy rate bounces back as tourist arrivals jump

Hotel occupancy rate bounces back as tourist arrivals jump

Pattaya beach, Chon Buri. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Pattaya beach, Chon Buri. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

A rebound in foreign tourist arrivals into Thailand is pushing up the country's hotel occupancy rate from a record low during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey.

The average room occupancy at Thai hotels was 48% in August, up from 46% a month earlier, according to a joint survey of 106 hotels by the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and the Thai Hotels Association (THA). That helped lift the average employment rate at these hotels to 75% from 71% in July, the survey, held during Aug 8-24, showed.

Hotels in Thailand, like most tourism-reliant countries, is benefiting from a rebound in global travel demand with authorities scrapping all pandemic-era restrictions that kept visitors out for almost two years. A government-funded air travel and hotel subsidy program for residents has also helped hotels log higher occupancy, the central bank said. 

Tourism revival is seen as key to Thailand’s economic recovery as the sector accounts for 12% of the gross domestic product and 20% of total employment, according to BoT governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput expects foreign tourist arrivals this year to exceed 8 million, helping the economy return to pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of this year.

Some key points from the survey:

  • While hotel incomes have started to improve, overall revenue remains well below pre-Covid levels
  • Hotels reporting income of more than 50% of pre-pandemic levels are mostly 4-5 star rated properties
  • Occupancy rate in September seen at around 40%
  • Hotels are still concerned about sustaining demand amid rising inflation as about 60% operators worry about falling purchasing power and lower-than-expected tourist arrivals
  • A labour shortage and disruption to economic activities from potential new waves of outbreak are also among key concerns

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