The government’s subsidized-tourism campaigns are helping on weekends and holidays, but weekdays remain a financial black hole, Pattaya hotel operators say.
A panel of local hospitality industry related their experiences at the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter’s July 30 meeting at the Cape Dara Resort. The stories played out much the same way: Business on weekends is recovering, but weekdays both rates and occupancy levels are too low and expenses too high.
THA (EC) President Phisut Sae-khu said three ongoing government campaigns – Pattaya Hot Deal, We Travel Together and Thank You to Healthcare Workers – all have pushed weekend bookings up throughout July, especially on the month’s two long holidays.
But Thanet Supornsahatrangsi of the Chonburi Tourism Council, said weekday rates are running at 10-20 percent of normal levels yet rooms remain empty. As a result, many hotels have not reopened or are not open on weekdays.
Without foreign tourists, he said, the hotel industry cannot sustain itself on just weekend business.
Sanphet Suphabuansathien, advisor to the THA (EC) noted that the Anchaleewiwat Group, which runs Pattaya hotels The Zign and Long Beach Garden, among others, has reopened their properties, but only about half the rooms at each hotel.
That has generated some income to support struggling employees, but, unless the government moves forward to create “travel bubbles” with countries that have had similar success to Thailand in controlling the coronavirus, the hotel industry’s long-term prospects are dire, he said.
Phisut reiterated comments he made at the group’s annual general meeting earlier in the month that a wide range of government assistance is needed before year-end to keep the hospitality industry afloat. The alternative is for foreign buyers to scoop up Thai properties on the cheap, costing tens of thousands of Thai jobs.
Thitipat Siranatsrikul, president of the Chonburi Attractions Association, also repeated her remarks from that meeting that not all area tourist spots have reopened yet because of slow business and a lack of staff.
The tourism executives noted that Pattaya had a number of events on its calendar for the final four months of the year, but few have been discussed since before the pandemic lockdown. One event that is still on – the Ganesh Chaturth Festival – hopefully will bring visitors to Pattaya Aug. 15-24, they said.