Europeans drive up room rates in the South

Tourists take in the view at Talay Waek ('Separated Sea') in Krabi province. (Photo: Bangkok Post file photo)
Tourists take in the view at Talay Waek ('Separated Sea') in Krabi province. (Photo: Bangkok Post file photo)

Longer stays from European guests helped drive room revenue in the first quarter in southern provinces, as room rates set a new record despite small numbers of Chinese tourists.

"The first quarter of this year will likely be the best high season in five years," said Pongsakorn Ketprapakorn of the Tourism Council of Phangnga.

Mr Pongsakorn said many hotels in the province, especially in Khao Lak, can charge higher room rates of between 6,000-10,000 baht per night, exceeding the average of 5,000 baht in 2019, which was a peak tourism year for Thailand.

The majority of tourists are Germans, Scandinavians and Russians, who chose the province's peaceful atmosphere.

So far, hotels have been recording more than a 90% occupancy rate, or are even fully booked, while guests are also spending more on food and other services in the hotels.

Although the Chinese market recorded the largest number of arrivals in Thailand, with over 987,000 of 5.2 million tourists, Phangnga rarely gained this market, said Mr Pongsakorn.

Many Chinese tourists opt for more lively and urban experiences, such as Phuket and Bangkok, instead of a nature-oriented destination like Phangnga. The Chinese were only 5-10% of the foreign tourist market for the province, he said.

Meanwhile, Krabi still lacks direct flights from China, which previously had services from 5-6 Chinese cities before the pandemic.

However, the province now has flights from Stockholm, Warsaw and Prague, with regular flights from major markets like Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia.

The Krabi Tourism Association said the top markets for Krabi at present were Sweden, Malaysia, Poland and the UK.

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  • atmosphere: the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ
  • drive (verb): to cause; to force somebody to act in a particular way - บังคับ, ผลักดัน
  • lack (verb): to not have something - ขาด
  • majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่
  • occupancy rate: the percentage of rooms in a hotel that have paying guests staying in them, i.e., paying guests occupying them -
  • pandemic: a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว
  • peak (adj): the time when something is at its highest or greatest level - ช่วงเวลาที่หนาแน่น, ช่วงเวลาที่พบมากที่สุด
  • quarter (noun): three months of the year on the official calendar of the government or companies - ไตรมาส
  • rate: an amount of money that is paid or charged - ราคา, อัตรา
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