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Hotels reluctant to apply for ASQ status due to government’s cap on tourist arrivals

Maya Taylor

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Hotels reluctant to apply for ASQ status due to government’s cap on tourist arrivals | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World
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With the number of foreign arrivals who can enter Thailand on the special tourist visa limited to just 1,200 a month, hotel owners say they’re reluctant to apply for alternative state quarantine status. Hoteliers say a lack of tourists in sufficient numbers, coupled with the number of quarantine facilities already in existence, means the investment required to gain ASQ approval may not be worth it.

Bangkok currently has 103 hotels approved as ASQ properties. A further 30 hotels in Pattaya, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Surat Thani and Buri Ram are ready to operate as alternative local state quarantine facilities.

Centara Hotels and Resorts currently has one Bangkok property which has received approval to operate as an ASQ facility. The Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel is partnered with Piyavate Hospital, with another Centara property in Phuket going through the approval process. However, chief executive Thirayuth Chirathivat says any decision to apply for ASQ status has to be based on a property’s location, the costs involved, and the number of tourists likely to stay.

“As the country is limiting arrivals, we plan to focus on attracting tourists who already cleared mandatory quarantine instead.”

Should the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration agree to admit more tourists in future, Thirayuth says more Centara properties may apply for ASQ status.

Meanwhile, the Accor group has 6 hotels operating as ASQ properties, while a further 12 are going through the application process. Spokesman Patrick Basset says as more hotels apply to join, so demand goes down. Accor’s ASQ hotels in Thailand recorded overall occupancy rates of between 48% – 68% during September.

Basset says Accor also operates 5 quarantine hotels in Vietnam, 2 in the Philippines, 2 in Laos and 1 in Myanmar. In Vietnam, foreign visitors go through a health-screening process on arrival, after which they can choose from a quarantine hotel or quarantine facilities provided by the Vietnamese government, at a cost of US$5 per day for food and other necessary supplies. It’s understood Ho Chi Minh City has 24 quarantine hotels, offering rooms from between $52 to $216 a night, approximately.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 3, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Why limit this visa to 1200 a month?
    I would have thought the government would accept all they can get!
    It seems to me this stupid government make rules and regulations up just to show they have the power.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 3, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Got to agree with you, Toby, I can’t understand the cap at all or see what the benefit or reason is.

      Surely the only “cap” is the capacity of the ASQs – not that I think many would be that interested anyway.

  2. Avatar

    Johnny Rambo

    November 3, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    How can any people in this world accept to be governed by such a bunch of hopeless r***rds ??? What kind of government drives it’s own people into mass unemployment, mass suicides and starvation just to tackle a joke virus ???

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 3, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      1. I wonder that about the West, where they don’t just “accept” it, but they choose it.

      2. The Western kind, particularly Western Europe’s, all too evidently.
      Thank God Thailand hasn’t gone down the same route.

      • Avatar

        preesy chepuce

        November 3, 2020 at 8:30 pm

        It kind of has… it’s chosen to take a massive hit on the economy, and hope for the best. That choice will have consequences, and further choices to make. It’s premature to criticise any one method of dealing with this situation, because of the high levels of variability of information, and the dynamic nature of the situation. There’s a case to be made for letting the virus rip and cull off the weak members of the herd and leave the strong to survive, and more resources to share, however, given that the old run things, there’s self-interest in doing anything to keep the virus at bay, even it means selling the future of the young to pay for it.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 3, 2020 at 11:24 pm

          A “massive hit on the economy”, yes, but that’s hardly entirely Thailand’s decision.

          Even if they opened the borders up now, with no restrictions, tourism would still be a fraction of normality and there’d be all the knock on effects.

          The kicker’s going to be exports being hit, at least as badly – down 7% already. It’s not so much “hoping for the best” but hoping for the least worst.

          In the West you can at least give the wrinklies some chance by isolating care homes, but here it’s multi-generational homes, a limited health service which, at best, could only have beds for 2,000 cases, and not enough funds to pay for furlough and sick leave.

          There’s no easy solution, but the idea that tourism could be the answer while playing down the consequences just isn’t realistic.

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Pattaya

Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours

The Thaiger

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Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours | The Thaiger

While the Covid pandemic has hit Thailand’s businesses hard, it has also washed away its not-so-legal soapy massage parlours after tourism has dried up its clientele. Such places, known as glorified brothels, have left many masseuses out of work as boards have barricaded the once booming establishments.

Soapy Massage (àap-òp-nûat, อาบอบนวด, literally bath, steam, massage)…
These are the bigger massage parlours where girls are presented in the fishbowl and you get the full program (including sex) for a fixed price, depending on the girl starting from 1,500 and up to 5,000 Baht.

Only a few of the soapy services have survived the pandemic in Pattaya, with Honey Massage Parlour being one of them, according to The Pattaya Mail. After adjusting to the new requirements for social distancing, the business has re-opened on November 19. However, its largest shop has closed, once known as Honey 1 on Soi Honey, or Soi 11, the windows are dark and barricaded. Honey Inn is also up for sale.

25 year old masseuse Maywadee, says she used to work in such parlours where she would get a cut of the 1,500 to 2,500 baht fee. She says she used to see up to 7 clients a day, but now that number has been cut in half as Chinese and Japanese tourists, who were her largest group of customers have dwindled. Now, she is thinking about heading back to her home city of Chiang Mai, to sell handicrafts, as her Pattaya income has dried up.

Such parlours feature masseuses that are usually not native to the area, as many come from lower socio-economic areas such as Thailands northeastern provinces, otherwise known as Isaan. Many make the trip to tourist-driven cities like Pattaya, Koh Samui, Bangkok and others, in an attempt to make a higher salary than they would if they were back in Isaan.

SOURCE: The Pattaya Mail

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Business

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength

The Thaiger

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Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength | The Thaiger

The Bank of Thailand has moved forward measures, originally meant to begin early 2021, but most of which will now take effect from end of this month. The end result is that the new rules will make it easier for Thais to shuffle money overseas and invest in foreign assets. It will also make is easier for Thai citizens to hold foreign currency in local banks. The new rules will also require the registration of local and overseas bond investors.

“Following the U.S. elections and positive news on Covid-19 vaccine development, investors have turned toward investing in emerging markets, including Thailand. The situation has resulted in strengthening the baht quickly and can impact economic recovery.”

“The registration of bond investors will allow close monitoring of investor’s behaviours and thereby enable the implementation of targeted measures in a timely manner.”

Last week the Bank of Thailand assessed that the Thai baht’s recent rapid gains could affect the country’s “fragile” economic recovery. The Thai government has called on the central bank to do its best to use what tools it has at its disposal to restrain the baht to protect exports.

Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group, says that he central bank also will continue to resort to direct intervention in foreign-exchange markets.

“The issue here is that local investors have a very strong home bias. Making it easier to invest overseas may not actually encourage them to do so.”

The Thai baht has been the 2nd best performer in Asia this month after foreign investors turned net buyers of almost $2.4 billion of bonds and stocks as appetite returns for riskier emerging-market assets amid a weak dollar, according to Bloomberg.

The Thai baht had recently rallied 8.8% from this year’s low in April, hitting a 10 month high last week.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

This morning, Thai time…

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht's strength | News by The Thaiger

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Technology

Hotel investment group launches world’s first “green” hotel fund

The Thaiger

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Hotel investment group launches world’s first “green” hotel fund | The Thaiger

Destination Capital, a hotel investment group in Bangkok, has announced that it will launch the world’s first ever “green” hotel fund. The fund will acquire hotels and implement sustainability systems and procedures to promote long term environmental and financial sustainability in investments using the EDGE certification programme. EDGE, an online platform, is an innovation of the International Finance Corporation, which helps property developers to build and brand “green” establishments in a fast and affordable way. EDGE is used by more than 170 countries and reportedly has kept almost 230,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from entering the atmosphere.

DC’s fund, titled Descap I, is part of its efforts to acquire freehold, 4 star hotels in prime destinations all over Thailand. James Kaplan, the CEO of DC, says he sees opportunities to renovate hotels to accommodate “green” technology and systems due to the current Covid pandemic that has ravaged the tourism sector in the kingdom.

“Destination Capital’s adoption of the EDGE certification program will provide the Descap I with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by differentiating our products and improving carbon emissions of the hotels.”

“If there is one thing we have learned during Covid-19 it is that the environment and nature recover quickly from poor resource management practices. Our participation in EDGE will serve to encourage the hospitality industry to adopt best practices with respect to better managing our scarce resources, raise broader consciousness about global warming and stem the tide of environmental degradation. We will implement operational elements to reduce water consumption, reduce waste emissions, reduce electricity use, and to the best of our ability eliminate plastic usage.”

Descap I, is a Thai Private Equity Trust. The company partners with Private Equity and Institutional Funds to source hotel acquisition opportunities and manage assets in the Asia Pacific region, turning its main focus to Thailand.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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