News of Hua Hin’s “decline” greatly exaggerated. Here’s why.

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Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Mr. Archawan Kongkanant being interviewed on Hua Hin beach.

It was a weekend of drama online for Hua Hin and its tourism industry.

Hua Hin found itself at the centre of a social media storm this weekend after popular local Facebook page, “Paksabuy,” ignited debate by asking followers to identify reasons behind a perceived decline in tourist numbers.

Respondents cited expensive accommodation, the nation’s sluggish economic recovery, and notably, congestion on Rama II Road as prime factors.

This narrative gained traction and was further amplified by coverage in the Thai language media and the Bangkok Post, painting a picture of a town in decline.

It was a picture that people actually living in Hua Hin did not at all recognise.

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Contrary to these reports, Hua Hin’s tourism sector is not only stable but flourishing, particularly in the first quarter of this year.

This past long weekend saw the town bustling with activity, further debunking the notion of a downturn.

The Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Mr. Archawan Kongkanant, conducted an inspection of the Hua Hin beach area on Monday evening (Feb 26). His findings revealed a healthy influx of Thai, European, and Chinese tourists, dispelling rumors of dwindling visitation.

Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Mr. Archawan Kongkanant

Mr. Archawan highlighted the robust economic indicators of the region’s tourism sector, noting significant income growth from 33 billion baht in 2022 to 44 billion baht in 2023, with a continued upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2027. Hotel occupancy rates, particularly among 3 to 5-star establishments, hovered between 85-90%, underscoring the sustained appeal of Hua Hin to a diverse visitor base.

Addressing concerns about high accommodation costs, Mr. Archawan pointed out that premium beachfront hotels, especially 4 to 5-star properties, do command higher prices during peak seasons. However, he assured that pricing is adjusted during off-peak periods to reflect market conditions, maintaining affordability and accessibility for visitors.

Mr. Archawan explained the city’s enduring appeal as a top destination for both domestic and international tourists has occasionally led to accommodation shortages, as there are not enough hotel rooms to accommodate the number of tourists during peak periods. Yet, Hua Hin remains a more vibrant and attractive option compared to other locations. Efforts are underway by local authorities to manage traffic congestion, public order, and safety issues, ensuring a welcoming and secure environment for tourists.

Tourists pose for photos on Hua Hin beach on Monday

Udom Srimahachota, Vice President of the Western Thai Hotels Association and Advisor to the Hua Hin-Cha-am Tourism Business Association, also weighed in on the discourse. He refuted claims of subdued activity during the recent holiday, citing tourism revenues of approximately 100–120 million baht and hotel booking rates of 80–90% as evidence of the town’s enduring popularity, particularly among European visitors who comprise the majority of the tourist demographic. He said that Hua Hin was not nearly as quiet as had been posted on social media.

There was some positive news to come out of this weekend’s social media storm in a tea cup.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin even weighed in on the issue ordering the transport ministry to expedite the construction of the Rama II Road.

The Rama II Road is the main road which connects Bangkok to the south, with construction being carried out on the road for several years, leading to frequent traffic jams and delayed journeys.

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