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Thai hotels are worried about the lower-than-expected numbers of foreign arrivals

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Thailand’s hotel operators are pointing to high inflation around the world as a reason for low tourist numbers and a lack of spending by the ones that are already here.

A survey by the Thai Hotels Association indicates that 62% of respondents worry that inflation is reading purchasing power of tourists whilst 61% say they are concerned by the lower-than-expected numbers of foreign arrivals.

The poll surveyed 106 hotel operators in the third week of August.

Other concerns include…

• a shortage of hotel workers – 43 %

• new Covid-19 outbreaks – 40 %

• businesses not fully opened – 19 % 

• the currency exchange rate – 18%

• the Thai interest rate – 18%

• monkeypox outbreak – 11%

• China-Taiwan tensions – 6%

On a positive note the THA noted the extension of visa-on-arrival from 15 to 30 days or 30 to 45 days for the visa exemption program (applicable to 64 countries). The new extensions start on October 1 and run up to the end of March next year.

The THA also hoped that the new 10 year Long-Term Resident Visa should lure more “high-spending foreigners”.

The THA notes that Thai hotel operators are facing their own rising food and energy costs with the Thai minimum wage increases also cutting into their profits.

The THA claims the average occupancy rate in August was around 47.5%, up 2.5% from July, noting that a large proportion of properties are still closed and that tourist arrivals are still well below 20% of 2019 levels in most areas.

The largest group of foreign arrivals into Thailand during July from the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports were… 

1. Malaysia  220,554

2. India. 106,139

3. Vietnam  60,981

4. South Korea  59,226

5. Singapore  56,673

6. Cambodia  51,841

7. Lao PRD  49,299

8. The United States  43,923

9. The UK  40,596

10. Australia  36,525

Particularly in regards to arrivals from Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the majority of the arrivals would not be purely tourism. For the high number of Malaysian arrivals, the majority of arrivals would be across Thailand’s southern border for either short trips or day trading and business.

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