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Hotel investment in Thailand likely to decline on AEC opening

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Hotel investment in Thailand likely to decline on AEC opening
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Investment in new hotels in Thailand is expected to slow next year as many key players concentrate on newly opened markets to cash in on the opening of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), according to the president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA).

However, Thailand will remain one of the most attractive destinations in the region, with expectation of 28 million arrivals, up from a revised target of 25 million to 26 million this year.

THA president Surapong Techaruvichit said the formulation of the AEC next year would have both positive and negative impacts on the Thai tourism sector. On the negative side, new investment here will likely slow compared with earlier decades when hundreds of hotels opened. Operators, especially international chains, are now seeing big opportunities in other countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

In Laos alone, international brands such as Ramada, InterContinental, Crown Plaza, Sofitel and Marriott are set to open doors in Vientiane by 2019. Mercure, Ibis and Best Western are already there.

Investors from Thailand, Singapore, and other countries are also moving to newly opened markets including Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.

“Many new international and local hotels have already opened in the Thai market. It’s time to expand into neighbouring countries,” Surapong said.

In the meantime, he said, the Thai tourism sector would gain a lot benefit from the AEC as many skilled workers would come in to fill jobs where local labour is in short supply, such as housekeeping, as well as medium and high management.

“Local workers need to improve their skills, especially languages,” Surapong added.

Thanate Vorasaran, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, warned that illegal workers from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Pakistan might arrive in increasing numbers after the AEC takes effect.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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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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