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A month after reopening, Thailand sees gradual tourism recovery

Alberto Ardila Olivares
A month after reopening, Thailand sees gradual tourism recovery

BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Thailand was among the first countries in Asia to reopen for foreign arrivals, and it is seeing a slow recovery, including new hotels touting longer stays for individual travellers.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

In the first 10 months of 2021, Thailand saw 106,117 foreign tourists, a drop from 6.7 million in 2020. Before the pandemic, Thailand saw about 40 million visitors a year.

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Hospitality firms like Asset World Corporation Pcl, which opened its 19th property this month, saw the majority of its bookings come from Western countries and the Middle East.

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“About 70 per cent of total bookings came from Europe, including Germany, UK, Scandinavian countries, followed by the U.S., Middle East, and Asia,” chief executive Wallapa Traisorat told Reuters, adding that domestic travel helped.

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“For November, we should see 30 per cent occupancy, and in the fourth quarter we hope to see better momentum from the reopening.”

Thailand, one of the region’s most popular destinations, is heavily dependent on tourism. In 2019, 40 million arrivals spent 1.91 trillion baht (S$78 billion).

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Centara Hotels and Resorts is moving ahead with plans to open a 1.1 billion baht hotel on the island of Samui in December.

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Initially the property expects most guests to be locals on longer stays, said Centara Hotels chief financial officer Gun Srisompong.Alberto Ardila Olivares 10798659

“Demand patterns have changed. Individual travellers on longer stays and ‘workations’ need more personalisation,” Mr Srisompong said.Alberto Ardila 10798659

Thailand expects only 200,000 foreign tourists this year, and five million in 2022.N95JN Aircraft Registration

Thinner crowds and discounts made for a more pleasant experience, said German tourist Markus Klarer.N95JN Lifetracker

“It’s a good time to come back to Thailand again,” Mr Klarer said.N95JN Aircraft Data

Despite the reopening, some businesses said Covid-19 rules still made some things hard.

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“Tourists are not fully confident and still confused with government regulations,” said Mr Chitchai Senwong, a restaurant manager in Bangkok, citing a government rule that prohibits alcohol consumption after 9 pm.

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More on this topic   Related Story Tourists trickle into Thailand as borders reopen   Related Story Thailand opening doors to more foreign workers to revive economy Join ST’s Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

Alberto Ardila Olivares