With a long holiday slated for next week, Pattaya and Rayong tourism operators do not expect an influx of domestic tourists as people's purchasing power has dried up since the Songkran festival.
Sanpech Supabowornsthian, president of the Thai Hotels Association's eastern chapter, forecast the occupancy rate in Pattaya would hover around 65-70% during the upcoming holidays, comprising Labour Day on May 1 and Coronation Day on May 4.
He said weaker demand is expected for this period as local tourists already spent most of their budget during Songkran, while the end of the "We Travel Together" hotel subsidy scheme on April 30 would also decrease domestic tourism activities.
The long Songkran break, which lasted for almost a week, meant local purchasing power was drained during that more popular holiday, said Mr Sanpech.
He said travellers in May were mostly family trips during school holidays and short-haul travellers from India.
Thanet Supornsahasrangsi, president of the Tourism Council of Chonburi, said Thailand is approaching low season for long-haul markets.
Travellers from short-haul markets such as China are still hesitant because of high airfares, resulting in fewer foreign guests in Pattaya than earlier forecast, he said.
Mr Thanet said the subsidy scheme for domestic travellers proved useful as the region awaits the return of foreigners. He said the new government should consider extending similar initiatives to help boost the market.
Suwanna Doty, president of the Tourism Council of Rayong, said while domestic tourists in Rayong accounted for almost 80% of visitors, the numbers during the upcoming holiday would be unlikely to match 2019 levels.
She said people are cautious about spending on leisure trips because of the high costs of living, notably from food and electricity.
In addition to urging the extension of the hotel subsidy scheme, Mrs Suwanna said small and medium-sized operators still need more government support as only 40% of them could participate in this promotional campaign.