SUNDAY, February 25, 2024

Thai hotels face severe staff shortages as they reopen after Covid

Thai hotels face severe staff shortages as they reopen after Covid

Thai hotels are suffering from severe staff shortages as the hospitality industry struggles to recover from the fallout of Covid-19, according to the Thai Hotel Association (THA).

About 68 per cent of hotels surveyed said they are short of staff to cover all departments – including maids, receptionists, cleaners, cooks, waiters and technicians.

Hotels are especially in need of workers with service and language skills, said the association’s president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi.

“Most hotels are under pressure from labour shortages in almost all departments, as related businesses in their local areas have yet to reopen,” Marisa said.

She was citing results of a THA survey conducted on 118 hotels between July 17 and 25.

The survey found that only 33 per cent of hotels had raised their wages in a bid to attract staff.

Results also showed that hotel occupancy rate in July averaged 45 per cent, up from 38 per cent the previous month. The forecast for occupancy rate in August was 42 per cent.

Marisa attributed the recovery to the country’s full reopening on July 1, when the Thailand Pass entry system was scrapped, as well as government subsidies for domestic travel.

“Most hotel customers are Thais although the number of foreign guests is increasing — mostly from Asia and the Middle East, followed by western Europe,” she said.

Average room rates have risen since last year but are still lower than pre-Covid times. Hotels have delayed price increases due to low purchasing power and occupancy rates, Marisa added.

Thai hotels face severe staff shortages as they reopen after Covid

Recovery in the Thai hotel sector will strengthen this year but is still reliant on Thai tourists, according to Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre (EIC).

The EIC has raised its forecast for foreign arrivals this year from 7.4 million to 10 million.

It also identified many “challenges” for the Thai hotel industry, including higher operating costs, a labour shortage, and tougher competition as luxury hotels cut prices and others reopen after the pandemic.