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Thai hotels monitor recovery

Hotels are reporting signs of recovery throughout the country, Thai Hotels Association president, Prakit Chinamornpong, told in the association’s bimonthly meeting Tuesday.

He said there were positive indicators that bookings would improve during the up coming Songkran festival, mid-April, especially in popular beach destinations such as Phuket and Pattaya where hotel occupancy could peak at around 90%.

According to Mr Prakit, average occupancy rates in the country hovers around 65 to 70%, which is far better than last year when occupancy averaged 45 to 70% during the Songkran festival.

During April last year, red shirt demonstrators took over downtown commercial districts in Bangkok, an occupation that marked the start of a political campaign that ended in bloodshed in May.

Even though demonstrations were peaceful during Songkran, in April 2010, it put a damper on tourist arrivals as memories of street fights during Songkran 2009 were still fresh in the minds of travellers and tourists alike.

He also said that if positive booking trends continue this way; the arrivals target set by Tourism Authority of Thailand at 16.8 million was within reach.

“Hotels in Phuket and Pattaya perform at a very high 80 to 85% for the first two months of this year,” said Mr Prakit.

“I believe properties could reach 90%, especially in Pattaya as there is a boom in Russian tourists to this destination.”

For other destinations such as Chiang Mai occupancy has risen to 60 to 75% for the first two months of this year a trend that should continue up to the festival in April.

“Chiang Mai has improved from around 40% during the same period last year, which is very encouraging for hotel operators,” said Mr Prakit.

However, Bangkok is likely to see a decline during the Songkran festival to around 50% as festival venues up-country is more popular.

“That is the standard trend for Bangkok. Tourists move away from the capital for the Songkran festival so the benefit goes to provincial destinations,” explained Mr Prakit.

In addition, Mr Prakit said there were still some challenges for tourism in Thailand as the political situation was still unpredictable which would impact directly and indirectly on the hospitality sector.

Thailand still faces challenges he told members.

“One is the flooding in the South, especially in Samui as the bad weather caused flights cancellations and some tourists are waiting for flights to return to Bangkok,” he told TTR Weekly.

Source: TTR Weekly

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