Thai Hotels Association urges boost for domestic tourism in case October reopening fails

15 Aug 2021

The Thai Hotels Association is calling to focus on plans to boost domestic tourism instead of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha's to reopen Thailand fully to international tourists by mid-October. The Thai government is laser-focused on international tourism and achieving the reopening goal, The association says but a backup plan to encourage domestic tourism is needed if international travel falters.

Due to Covid-19's devastating effect on tourism, hotels across the country have been struggling to survive, with many closing permanently and the others temporarily shuttered. Last month, the Thai Hotel Association and Thailand's central bank, the Bangko, conducted a survey wherein 304 hotels were asked about the economic recession and future business hopes.

About 60% of hotels say they don't have sufficient cash flow or cash reserves, with the majority saying they could sneak by for a maximum of 3 more months, but many saying they'll be broke and have to close within a month or so. Estimates say about 20% of hotels in Thailand have permanently closed due to the lack of tourism from Covid-19.

To earn money, the association suggested asking the government and state agencies to hold meetings, conferences, and seminars in hotel business conferences. Government officials, on the other hand, seem to be firm in their dedication to Sandbox-style reopenings of multiple tourism destinations to international visitors.

More Sandbox schemes will launch in locations such as Samui, Krabi, and Phang-nga starting August 22, according to Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakan, though it should be noted that Koh Samui is technically already open as a struggling Sandbox destination, and plans allowing Phuket Sandboxers to travel to Krabi and Phang-nga were also in place as an Andaman Sandbox that was supposed to launch on August 22.

Despite low vaccination rates and vaccine shortages, the minister believes that 70% of Thailand will be fully vaccinated by October, allowing for international reopening, even though the actual vaccinated population percentage is now in the single digits just two months before the deadline.

He states that by October, ten more provinces will be fully operational and ready to welcome international visitors, but he admits that the original estimate of 3 million tourists has been reduced to just 1 million. According to the minister, Thailand will be able to contain the current Covid-19 outbreak within the next two months, and major international travel partners like France, Israel, and the United States will remove all travel warnings and flock to tropical Thailand.