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Vegetarian Festival price gouging arrives ahead of tomorrow’s festival

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Vegetarian Festival price gouging arrives ahead of tomorrow’s festival | The Thaiger

Vegetable prices have climbed up by a few baht per kilo ahead of the Chinese Vegetarian Festival, which will officially kick off tomorrow, principally in Phuket and Bangkok.

Vendors at a fresh market in Bangkok believed vegetable prices would soar even higher during the festival, which runs up to October 17.The price of a kilo of celery, which cost around 10 baht only recently, had risen more than 30 per cent to 14 baht per kilo today.

Some people started their vegetarian diet a few days ago to ensure their systems were free from meat when the festival starts.

Many vendors are cooking Chinese vegetarian food for sale. Each bag costs between 35 – 40 baht. Freshly cooked dishes cost between 40 – 50 baht each.

However, Chinese vegetarian food also excludes eggs, milk, garlic among others.

Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said on Sunday that he had instructed the Internal Trade Department to ensure commodity prices do not rise too high during the Chinese Vegetarian Festival.

According to a survey by the Thai Chamber of Commerce University’s Centre for Business and Economic Forecasting, about 33.8 per cent of people would be joining the festival. They plan to buy Chinese vegetarian food from convenience stores or local food shops. Some 41.9 per cent of those polled believe they will have to pay more for vegetarian items this year.

It is estimated that the upcoming Chinese Vegetarian Festival will boost cash flow to 45.93 billion baht. Although the figure is the highest-ever, it marks a growth rate of just 1.9 per cent. This is the smallest growth rate in 11 years or ever since the centre started conducting surveys on Thailand’s Chinese Vegetarian Festival.

Vegetarian Festival price gouging arrives ahead of tomorrow's festival | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation



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Bangkok

Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling

Bill Barnett

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Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

PHOTOS: Rosewood Bangkok

For hotel owners and managers in South East Asia, one of the great mysteries of the past ten years has been the low rate profile of Bangkok’s luxury hotel set. Despite soaring and sustained tourism growth, rising airlift and a strong economy, rates at Bangkok’s top tier properties have remained fairly stagnant.

Have we reached the tipping point?

I had had the opportunity to visit the latest entry to the Bangkok luxury class a few days ago, the Rosewood. With 159 keys which includes a limited number of posh houses with private pools and terraces the property is seeing an exceptional response and already achieving high rates.

What’s impressive about the entry is a take on the design approach that sees hotel developers apply a non-uniform approach with AvroKO coming in to focus on the restaurants and bars, while the rooms and public areas were led by Celia Chu Design and Associates.

While the speakeasy Lennon’s has not be opened yet, the 6,000 record vinyl collection is impressive and the bar will clearly have a strong pull. Taking the approach to designing restaurants and not typical hotel outlets, the Chinese eatery Nan Bei is a breath of fresh air and limited seating provides a bespoke appeal.

Taking a step back, and looking at recent entries like the Waldorf Astoria, and upcoming 101 key Capella, what is clear is luxury properties are shifting in terms of key drivers of the segment of art, fashion, residential vibe, bar and restaurant offerings, wellness and events.

So, what about rates?

On a broad basis Bangkok’s top tier hotels have averaged rates of US$200-240 for the past few years. This set has seen longer serving properties such as the St. Regis, Kempinski, and Okura effectively flatline on rates, though newer entries have come up including the Park Hyatt. On the broader horizon is the return of the Four Seasons and Capella by the river and the Orient Express at the MahaNakhon skyscraper.

With the entry of Rosewood driving rates, my expectation is that a few of the set will follow and at the end of 2019 we will set limited number of hotels crash through the US$300 average room rate barrier and effectively smash the legacy glass ceiling of Bangkok’s luxury hotels.

As in any business there will be winners and losers. Smaller hotels with some rate leading premium key types will be able to push up average daily rates. Segmentation is another key and hotels on the river that lack substantial corporate numbers will remain challenged until transport links to the area improve.

Where in the world are Bangkok luxury hotels heading?

To sum up 2019, size and location matter, the shift on food and beverage and social events along with niches like wellness and  smaller meetings/weddings are the key to the future. As for the quantum leap in rates, it’s about time Bangkok hoteliers be confident and push rates towards a more global norm.

Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Thaiger

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Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | The Thaiger

The Thai cabinet yesterday approved the construction of a third runway at Suvarnabhumi International Airport as part of the country’s ambition to become the aviation hub of ASEAN.

The 21.7 billion baht project will increase the combined capacity of Suvarnabhumi international airport’s runways to 94 arrivals and departures per hour from the current 64, said Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukonthapatipak, deputy government spokesman.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (aka. BKK) was opened in 2006 as Bangkok’s second airport. Initially it replaced the tired Don Mueang Airport but Don Mueang was later revamped as a low-coast airport to service the growing traffic demands.

Meanwhile Suvarnabhumi Airport was, and still is, operating above its designed capacity. An earlier bid to build a third terminal has been mired in controversy and is currently shelved pending a new brief from Airports of Thailand with a new round of design bids called for in the future.

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | News by The Thaiger

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Newborn baby dumped beside garbage bins

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Newborn baby dumped beside garbage bins | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

A newborn baby has been found abandoned near rubbish bins in Chon Buri province, south-east of Bangkok, earlier today.

18 year old city sanitation worker, Anucha Boonkhai, has told police that he had loaded garbage from all the bins on Soi 4 of Ban Kao village in Tambon Ban Kao, Muang district, when he spotted a pile of towels. He checked and found a baby boy, whose umbilical cord was still attached still smudged with blood, wrapped in one of the towels.

The baby was alive but had been bitten by mosquitoes and insects so he called an emergency unit of a hospital and then informed police.

Police are now checking footage from security and CCTV cameras in the area to try to identify the mother or person who had dumped the newborn baby.

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