Sueksit Suwandissakul, president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter), said recently that hotels in Phuket reported about 40 per cent occupancy rate in the first six months of the year. However, he said only half of the 1,500 registered hotels and rental properties are actually open for business.
“Most hostels and small hotels are still shut as they target mostly foreign visitors, but this group has only bounced back by 20 per cent compared to before the pandemic,” he said.
Sueksit believes hotel occupancy in the South will rise in the second half of the year, though foreign arrivals may not increase significantly. This is because China is still prohibiting its citizens from travelling overseas, except students and those for whom it is necessary.
“As the economy starts recovering in the second half, I hope to see more hotels reopening. This will also be a good time for people to sell off their businesses as they are bound to get a better offer compared to during the pandemic,” he added.
Meanwhile, some 80 per cent of hotels in the deep South province of Songkhla have reopened thanks to the influx of Malaysian tourists from July 1 – the date the Thailand Pass was cancelled, the Songkhla Tourism Industry Council said.
“The council believes that more than 90 per cent of operators will resume their business this year,” the council’s president Somphol Cheewawattanapong said.
“Songkhla is expected to attract about 800,000 foreign visitors in 2022 or about 40 per cent of the 2 million visitors per year before the pandemic.”
Similarly, tourism on the famous resort island of Samui has recovered by up to 70 per cent.
Ratchaporn Phoonsawat from the Samui Tourism Promotion Board said the hotel occupancy rate on the island is expected to jump to 80 to 90 per cent during the October-December high season.
“Some 30 per cent of hotels on Koh Samui have yet to open due to lack of liquidity. So, we urge the government to provide soft loans to these operators so the island can return to operating at full potential,” he said.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said recently that 1.07 million foreigners had entered Thailand in July – the first time that monthly arrivals exceeded the 1 million mark since the pandemic. He said he expects some 1 million arrivals in August and September and 1.5 million per month during the high season. Phiphat said he was confident that the number of total foreigners landing in Thailand this year will exceed 10 million.