Domestic travel demand weakened by rising Covid infections, high prices

PHOTO: Flickr/David Bowden

A spike in daily new infections, coupled with high prices for goods and services, has stymied the recovery of domestic tourism. La-Iad Bungsrithong from the northern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association says this is despite government schemes such as We Travel Together and other incentives designed to attract visitors, such as local events.

“Bookings from the fourth phase of the stimulus haven’t yet picked up as strong as hoteliers expected due to Omicron concerns.”

The Bangkok Post reports that the response to phase 4 of the government’s domestic tourism stimulus has been weaker than in other phases. During the first week of the campaign, only 300,000 room nights were used. From February 13, 471,310 rooms from a total of 2 million additional rooms have been booked.

La-Iad says that, while hotel operators had hoped that January and February occupancy would remain at 55%, the Omicron-driven surge in cases in January meant occupancy plummeted to less than 20%. Things are not looking any better for the north during February, despite Chiang Mai holding its annual flower festival, Chiang Mai Blooms. Passenger numbers at Chiang Mai airport have dropped from the 7,000 – 8,000 a day seen in November and December to 4,000 – 5,000 on February 1.

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Meanwhile, in the west of the country, THA’s Vason Kittikul says rising infections and reduced purchasing power means hotel occupancy in the tourist district of Cha-am, in the province of Phetchaburi, is likely to fall below 50% this month. The province will hold the Phra Nakhon Khiri-Muang Phet Fair later this month but there is no clear indication yet of visitor numbers as Thai travellers prefer to decide at the last minute, based on the Covid-19 situation.

According to the Bangkok Post report, Vason remains hopeful that hotel bookings will pick up in March and April if families use the long holiday periods to avail of the government’s stimulus campaign.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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