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State quarantine hotels urge government to expand market beyond repatriating Thais



PHOTO: Facebook / Thai Airways

Thailand’s state quarantine hotels are calling on the government to allow them to accept bookings from Thais arriving on semi-commercial flights and not just those returning on dedicated repatriation flights. State quarantine hotels are only permitted to receive repatriating Thais, whose bookings take longer to process as a result of long waiting lists, limited flight availability, and more expensive fares compared to semi-commercial flights.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand currently has 22 state quarantine hotels, offering 7,114 rooms. 11 of those are in Pattaya, with another 10 in Bangkok and 1 property in the central province of Samut Prakan. The hotels receive 1,000 baht per room night from the government. Each room night includes 3 meals. However, hotel operators say the government can be late in paying up, which poses another problem.

Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun from Bangkok’s Patra Hotel, says many state quarantine facilities are pulling out of the programme as they are unable to cover their operating costs due to the low demand. Hotels are also only notified of bookings a few days in advance.

“During this crisis, operators do not have sufficient liquidity to operate. The government has to speed up transactions to SQ facilities.”

Occupancy at the Patra Hotel dropped from 72% to 50% in February and has plummeted to 40% this month. There was a similar decline at Pattya’s state quarantine facilities this month, with average occupancy dropping to 40%.

Thienprasit says news of a reduction in quarantine for vaccinated arrivals may drive increased demand but is calling on the government to open up state quarantine to Thais returning on semi-commercial flights. Hotel operators are also demanding a clear timeline, amid rumours that the state quarantine programme will be terminated in May.

Meanwhile, Phisut Sae-Khu from the eastern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association says the programme should continue running until Thailand has achieved herd immunity through the national vaccine rollout. He says operating as a state quarantine facility helps hotels stay open, as opposed to those relying completely on tourism, who suffer from much lower occupancy, particularly during the week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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