Struggling hoteliers eye the exit as occupancy plummets
The fresh wave of Covid-19 has severely affected tourism and hospitality businesses in Thailand with occupancy rates at domestic hotels dropping to 5-30 per cent, forcing many operators to sell their businesses to cut losses, said Thammajak Leuangprasert, president of Arjarnnar Asset Management Group.
“Some hotels affected by the outbreak for more than a year have managed to stay afloat with the help of soft loans and the debt moratorium programme, while some have decided to sell their businesses to foreign investment groups,” he said. “Currently there are European and Chinese companies looking to buy 4-5 star hotels in Thailand priced at over Bt2 billion, while 3-star hotels are also desirable provided they are in a prime location.
“Investors are eyeing hotels in Thailand as our country is a prominent tourism destination, while the outbreak has driven the selling price down and makes it an excellent opportunity to buy,” he added.
In addition to hotels, foreign investors are also interested in the hostel business in Thailand and neighbouring countries as well.
Edmund Lowman, CEO of Collective Hospitality Group, said that the company had invested Bt450 million in buying the Bodega Hostel Group, which manages hostels offering over 2,500 beds in Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia. This move has made the Collective Hospitality Group the biggest hostel operator in Asean and the fourth biggest in the world.
Meanwhile, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of Thai Hotels Association, has said that due to the Covid-19 third wave, hotel operators nationwide are in need of financial aid from the government.
“The government’s soft loan and debt moratorium programme only partly helped the hotel industry,” she said. “What we really need is a co-payment programme that would help pay half of employee wages to keep the business afloat and maintain employment.”