Hoteliers uneasy over coming long weekends

Hoteliers uneasy over coming long weekends

Tourists and locals shop at Cicada market in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Tourists and locals shop at Cicada market in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Hotel operators have voiced mixed feelings over travel sentiment for the two long holidays in July as the spike in Covid-19 infections and oil prices continue to impact tourism.

"Overall sentiment for Hua Hin this month is not as good as April, which recorded 90% occupancy, due to many negative factors, especially rising diesel prices and concerns over the viral situation," said Udom Srimahachota, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association's (THA) western chapter.

The fuel cost from Bangkok to Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province previously was 1,300-1,500 baht per trip, but it has increased to 2,300-2,500 baht. Combined with rising living costs, locals are even more price conscious.

The average occupancy rate in Hua Hin during the next holiday on July 13-17 should reach 65-75%, while the occupancy this month is expected at 50-55%.

Hotels currently had only 20-30% advanced booking for the remaining holiday in the final week this month.

Moreover, local tourists with purchasing power have turned to Vietnam or Singapore during the long weekend.

Mr Udom said around 5% of guests had to cancel or postpone their trips recently after testing positive for the virus. The viral situation tends to be more contagious as more schools in Bangkok temporarily closed.

To maintain domestic momentum, the government must extend the We Travel Together hotel subsidy until the end of this year as well as other campaigns to support domestic trips.

As of 10 July, 492,681 room nights were redeemed from an additional 1.5 million room nights in the fourth phase since July 1.

Phisut Sae-Khu, president of the THA's eastern chapter, said more guests put off reservations, but the number is not significantly high.

Hotels in Pattaya should see at least 70% occupancy for the upcoming long weekend, while occupancy in July might be close at 60-70%.

Mr Phisut said tourism might face another downturn if the spike in new cases triggers strict regulations such as a ban on inter-provincial travel or a face mask mandate which will create a negative psychological impact.

Phunut Thanalaopanich, president of the THA's northern chapter, said occupancy in Chiang Mai province during the five-day weekend would be around 45-50%, rising from 20% last month, thanks to the extension of We Travel Together.

Hotels are hiring more part-time workers to support operations this week.

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