Thai hoteliers prepare for tourism comeback as COVID-19 led to 71% unemployment

Industry players suggest the government relax restrictive conditions to help the return of foreign tourists 

The unemployment rate in the tourism sector has reached 71 percent (3.05 million people) in Q3 2021 as a result of the ongoing pandemic. puwanai/Shutterstock 

As reported by Bangkok Post, hoteliers are keeping their hopes upon the restart of tourism, as Thailand stays on track in reopening more areas to vaccinated tourists to boost the economy during annual peak seasons.  

The capital’s reopening plan was recently pushed back to November from October.  

Garth Simmons, chief executive at Accor for Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea, said that an immediate economic success from Thailand’s reopening is dependent upon the model set for Bangkok.  

With tourism being a lifeline for many people in the country, Simmons added that the sooner Thailand can reopen to the rest of the world, the faster the economy can be revived.  

According to the Tourism Council of Thailand, the unemployment rate in the tourism sector has reached 71 percent (3.05 million people) in Q3 2021 as a result of the ongoing pandemic. 

Despite properties in Bangkok are prepared for international guests, Accor is focusing on the domestic market in the fourth quarter this year. The hotel introduced “daycations”, “staycations”, as well as dining packages to locals, which have received positive feedback.  

Michael Marshall, chief of commercial operations for Minor Hotels, said the company improved its facilities, job training, and services for better guest experiences. Promotional campaigns are also offered to draw in key customers for the reopening.  

Wallapa Traisorat, chief executive and president at Asset World Corp (AWC), said that demand for travel will recuperate robustly if Bangkok can reopen for quarantine-free travel without the requirement of a minimum stay.  

Moreover, as large markets in Asia continue to restrict international trips, hoteliers’ confidence about strong tourist flows to the capital has deteriorated. 

Supawan Tanomkieatipume, deputy managing director at the Twin Towers Hotel Bangkok, said that independent operators should observe demand in the first stage of reopening before changing services to foreign guests.  

Alike many other hotels in Bangkok, Twin Towers became a hospitel (hotel with medical services) to gain revenue during this sluggish period.  

She noted that the resumption of the hotel subsidy scheme We Travel Together should create demand from locals in suburban areas who want to stay in luxury hotels at an affordable price.  

Additionally, hoteliers expect changes to existing reopening models to efficiently allow the return of tourists in the upcoming future. 

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Simmons suggests that the government should consider less restrictive conditions for arrivals and initial stays, such as a reduction in the cost for RT-PCR testing or allowing the use of antigen test kits.  

“Thailand will continue to compete with many destinations, so it is vital travellers are not deterred by complicated travel conditions,” said Simmons.  

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].