With virtually no foreign tourism, Thailand’s hotels are converting their rooms into apartments, offering monthly rentals at drastically discounted rates.
Seen mostly in Bangkok, luxury hotels are jumping into the serviced-apartments market, cutting room rates by as much as 50 percent for those renting monthly, allowing some to enjoy four- and five-star living for as little as 15,000 baht a month.
Monthly rentals are just one of the options hotel operators consider to survive a foreign-tourism drought that is nearly a year old. While there are no legal or immigration blockades to foreigners visiting Thailand, the country’s requirement for costly, 14-day quarantines and demand for rafts of complicated paperwork has discouraged people from visiting.
Kasikorn Research Center previously predicted that 20 percent of hotels in 20 provinces may close permanently. That percentage will increase if Thailand doesn’t control its current coronavirus outbreak by the end of March.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn said the country’s average occupancy rate this year stood at 29.6 percent, below the industry breakeven point of 27.9 percent.
In Bangkok, occupancy stood at 27.3 percent, but the capital has a higher breakeven point at 34.5 percent, he added.
Hotels of all classes have cut rates, luxury resorts have joined the government’s subsidized-travel program for the first time and property upgrades and expansions have been delayed, the TAT said. Weaker hotels have closed entire floors or completely, while more than 150 others have converted into quarantine centers. Staff reductions are rampant.
Yuthasak said the hope is business will increase once coronavirus vaccines become widely available.