Hotel industry ‘100% recovered’ by December end: Association


The Thai hotel industry is expected to see a full recovery from the pandemic’s fallout by the end of the second half of this year, Thai Hotel Association (THA) president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi predicts.

The average occupancy rate of Thai hotels was 60% in 2023, compared to 75% in 2019, the last full year before Covid-19 struck worldwide.

“We hope the [last] high season was the beginning of a continued growth in the Thai tourism sector,” Marisa said. “If there are more flights to Thailand and the world economy recovers, [the hotel industry] will see a constant recovery. In the latter half of 2024, we could see a 100% recovery to reach the pre-Covid level of 2019.”

Phuket would remain Thailand’s most popular tourist destination during the current high season from November 2023 to March 2024, according to the THA president.

She attributed the surge in tourist arrivals to the addition of direct overseas flights to the resort island, along with visa-free entry for visitors from China, India, Kazakhstan, and Taiwan, and an extension of the visa-free stay for Russian nationals from 30 days to 90 days.

Regarding other popular tourist destinations, Marisa said that hotels in Pattaya have seen more tourists from India; Pattaya hotels had relied heavily on Chinese tourists before the pandemic. Hua Hin hotels have seen an increase in European guests, particularly those from Germany and Scandinavian countries, she added.

“Hotels in Bangkok enjoy good occupancy during the high season, with a lot of foreign tourists, particularly those from the short-haul markets. The occupancy rate was 80% during the New Year holiday season. Most of the guests were independent travellers from China.”

Suwanna Buddhaprasart, chief executive of LH Mall & Hotel Co Ltd, agreed with Marisa. A continued growth in Thailand’s tourism and hotel industries can be expected as airlines have resumed their flights, she said.

Hotel industry ‘100% recovered’ by December end: Association Hotel industry ‘100% recovered’ by December end: Association

She pointed to over 28 million foreign arrivals to Thailand in 2023, higher than the 25 million target of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Still, that growth remained a long way from the 40 million achieved in the pre-Covid year of 2019, which has now become a national goal for 2024.

“The country’s logistics system and infrastructure should be expanded to prepare for growth in the tourism sector,” Suwanna said. “Although the economy is not good, people want to travel to ease their stress. The government must help the tourism sector by making the country more friendly to tourists.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) has called for the government to set a marketing budget and ”invest” in the industry by funding the private sector’s marketing campaign in an effort to reach tourism revenue of 3.5 trillion baht this year, up from 2 trillion baht last year.

“The private sector is ready to do marketing to reach the revenue target set by the government,” said ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn. “But the government must provide a budget for the marketing effort,” he said.

The Thai government’s aim for 3.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2024 is based on reaching 1 trillion baht from the domestic market and 2.5 trillion baht from overseas markets.

Hotel industry ‘100% recovered’ by December end: Association Hotel industry ‘100% recovered’ by December end: Association