Leisure travellers unlikely to visit Thailand until next year

FILE PHOTO: Empty chairs are seen on a beach which is usually full of tourists, amid fear of coronavirus in Phuket, Thailand March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

Thailand will not see leisure travellers visiting in any significant numbers until next year, a leading figure in the tourism industry has predicted.

Despite Thailand having now reopened to vaccinated foreign tourists, it may be some time before the country sees an influx of leisure travellers or vacationers.

According to Suthiphong Pheunphiphop, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA), Thailand’s leisure tourism sector will pick up only when it becomes easier for people to travel globally and quarantine and other measures which tourists consider a hassle were no longer required.

Meanwhile, Sasithorn Kittidhrakul, president of the Krabi Tourism Association said tourists are unlikely to commit to holidays while mandatory quarantine is still in place upon return to their home country, which is currently still a requirement for Chinese nationals returning home.

The news comes as Thailand on Monday revealed that over 20,000 tourists had entered since it reopened on Nov 1.

By comparison, over 100,000 tourists per day visited Thailand pre-pandemic.

And while the arrival of tourists since Nov 1 had seen a slight rise in hotel occupancy rates in some areas, the average occupancy rate at hotels throughout Thailand remains at 23.5%, up from 15.5% in September, according to a survey conducted jointly by Thai Hotels Association (THA), said that the Thai Hotels Association and the Bank of Thailand.

The survey also found that approximately 33% of hotels throughout the country remain closed, with owners reporting that the low demand is not enough to cover operating costs on utilities and staff salaries.

This post was republished with permission from ASEAN NOW