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Covid-19 crisis sees nearly 100 Koh Samui hotels put up for sale

Jack Burton

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Covid-19 crisis sees nearly 100 Koh Samui hotels put up for sale | The Thaiger
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The economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic on Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sectors has been inestimable, with foreign arrivals banned since March and hotels nationwide ordered shut in April. Some around the country have since re-opened but nearly 100 hotels on the tourist island of Koh Samui are now for sale.

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui says owners of close to 100 local hotels have announced plans put their hotels up for sale, because they lack cash flow and banks won’t lend bridging finance or loans to capitalise. He says their financial problems began late last year and increased in January, then the Covid-19 crisis struck them hard in February.

Some hotel owners have been unable to collect overdue payments from major tour agencies for months (like the TUI Group – read more HERE). Furthermore, during the temporary closure, owners have had no revenue but still had to pay salaries and other costs.

Due to the crisis it’s difficult for them to seek soft loans from banks to maintain their liquidity, according to the president, who says he’d like the government to “provide urgent help to hotel owners with soft loans before it is too late, because hoteliers are in deep financial trouble”.

“The impact is not only on Koh Samui but nationwide.”

After promising transparency, the government unanimously passed a 1.8 trillion baht stimulus package, designed to resuscitate an economy expected to contract for the first time since 2009, due to the ripple effects of the pandemic. The package includes soft loans for stricken businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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