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Thailand tourism leaders come together to discuss the industry’s future

Tanutam Thawan



Photo by C9 Hotelworks

The following story was submitted by Bill Barnett, the managing director for C9 Hotelworks.

The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest global crisis tourism has ever faced. Against this unprecedented upheaval, many of Thailand’s leading hotel operators and other key players came together under the #ThaiTourismUnited banner at an event in Bangkok, creating a single unified voice to drive the Kingdom’s recovery.

More than 400 tourism leaders and industry gurus gathered in Bangkok last month – in a safe and socially-distanced format – for the 10th annual Thailand Tourism Forum 2021 (TTF), Thailand’s premier travel, tourism and hospitality powwow organised by C9 Hotelworks hospitality consulting group and hosted at the Conrad Hotel Bangkok.

Despite the challenges faced by hoteliers and tourism providers in Thailand this year, registrations for TTF 2021 were full in 3 hours for the in-person event during which guests were presented with a content-packed agenda featuring some of industry’s most respected figures, including owners, presidents and chief executives.

The event kicked off with a “Thai Hotel Leaders’ Roundtable” discussion which saw the CEOs of Thailand’s biggest hotel groups discuss ways to revive the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors. The top-level debate included Thirayuth Chirathivat, CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts; Stephan Vanden Auweele, Chief Hospitality Group Officer of Asset World Corporation; Bill Heinecke, CEO of Minor International; Dirk De Cuyper, CEO of S Hotels & Resorts; Marisa Sukosol, President of the Thai Hotels Association; and Salanroj Sutaschuto, Director of the Central and Eastern Regional Office of the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau.

Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, kickstarted TTF 2021 in his own inimitable style, with an opening address entitled “Lost in Thailand, The Ultimate Survival Story.” Attendees were then able to choose from a series of quick-fire “Bang Bang” forums and discussions, including an economic assessment of Thailand’s tourism sector; an overview of the Kingdom’s beleaguered aviation industry; an insight into innovation and disruption within the hotel sector, and many more.

One of the most eagerly-anticipated sessions saw Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific, reveal the latest hotel performance data and analysis for Thailand, including forecasts for the future.

“After a particularly challenging January 2021, Thailand’s hotels at least end the first quarter with similar patterns as seen by the end of 2020. There are early signs of reservations in June but also some for November-December. In light of Thailand’s dependency on international arrivals… the STR forecast for Bangkok has been downgraded for the full year of 2021. We do foresee 2022 as a bigger comeback year on many fronts across the country.”

Barnett says Covid-19 has impacted almost every country around the. While Thailand has been considerably successful in controlling the spread of infections, Barnett says the “pandemic’s impact on tourism has been cataclysmic.”

“International visitors previously accounted for more than 70% of tourism spending in Thailand*, so this year’s border closures have left a huge hole in the economy. But the recovery starts here; TTF 2021 is a unique opportunity for the Kingdom’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry to unite, unify and usher in a bright future.”

TTF 2021 will be hosted in compliance with all necessary health and safety regulations. The host venue, Conrad Hotel Bangkok, is Thailand Safety & Health Administration (SHA) certified and all attendees will be required to follow SHA guidelines, including temperature checks upon arrival, the wearing of face masks, and social distancing.

The 10th annual Thailand Tourism Forum 2021, #ThaiTourismUnited, is a free-to-attend event, but advanced registration is required. To book your place, please CLICK HERE. For more information, please visit


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  1. Avatar

    Tony Phuket

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    Its always nice to see Bill dressing up so smartly as he does..

  2. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Bill, you’re dressed like a homeless person. Dress for success.

  3. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    They can have 100 more meeting. I not come until 70% of Thailand population is vaccinated

  4. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Looks like the same “tourism leaders” who signed the Open Thailand Safely petition. 90%+ farang plus a few token Thais.

  5. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Yes all the men dress up a bit Tony, but the mister expert on tourism Barnet looks like a bar drunk in Pattaya.
    Still he is not wearing flip flops . . .

  6. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Tourism is DEAD they need to forget about it and cut it loose.
    Today 4195 people died in Brazil from the “Brazilian Mutation” they need to act fast BEFORE that or the “Double Mutation” version lands here.

  7. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    If Thailand opens up in its 3 phases, Apr, July and Oct. they might have a chance at a slow recovery. If the government decides to backpedal on this due to the “new variants/strains, whatever” it’s time for Thailand to find a new industry

  8. Avatar

    funny coz its true

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Why not just declare Thailand to be the new hub of something else, build a hub and they will come, or not, who cares anymore?

  9. Avatar

    Tom Atwill

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Its simple you must be vaccinated with approved vaccine and show negative covid rapid test.
    Use the app to trace where you go and OPEN UP.
    Covid will always be here now like the flu, measles, Dengue Fever and motorcycle accidents .
    Live with it and move on. DO not bankrupt the country
    BTW 99% of people survive just fine.

  10. Avatar

    Overbuilt ConstructionLLC

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 9:11 am

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

  11. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Tourist Leaders??

    Where are the Thais??? Really surprised to see this Pic …But they should all go pan for gold tourism will not take off again in Thailand now if ever too much bad publicity about Thailand now in world news apart from Virus …Now number 1 not to go to the listing
    News about what your King is up to ..your support for Burma Military murderers…your crazy policies on coming to Thailand …You have no hope sorry

    MMM That Pic… very strange set up this must all Pay Gov for their jobs yes?

    Good Luck Thailand

  12. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 10:11 am

    At the moment they are the Thailand hub snub.

  13. Avatar


    Friday, April 9, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    The event kicked off with a “Thai Hotel Leaders’ Roundtable”
    ?lmfao- that’s code for circle jerk. are these nut jobs still on a payroll?

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