IT’s almost business as usual in Thailand, as the hysteria propagated by the international media over the kingdom’s end-2011 flooding gradually ebbs away.
Numerous Thai hoteliers whom TTG Asia e-Daily spoke to reported that room and occupancy rates had mostly returned to levels prior to the flooding.
On the other hand, some travel experts like Alex Tan, area sourcing director, South-east Asia & China, Gullivers Travel Associates, said that some discounting could still be expected.
Tan explained: “In Bangkok, which suffered the most from the floods and ensuing negative publicity, some properties are still trading at rates slightly below the norm. Depending on the property and where it’s situated, this varies between 10 and 25 per cent.”
However, though room and occupancy rates in Thailand have mostly recovered, European bookings are still underperforming.
Amari Watergate Bangkok, part of the Onyx group, has seen its bookings from Europe plunge by 10 to 20 per cent so far this year compared to 2011, according to its director of sales & marketing, Khajohnsak Ngiempaisal.
“November to March is usually the peak period for Europeans but the market is relatively muted now,” he said. “Europeans usually book their holidays at the end of the year and many did not do so (last year) because of the negative media coverage at the time. Moreover, a number are bypassing Bangkok and flying directly to beach resorts like Phuket.”
According to Tommy Lai Chi-On, area director of sales Thailand-leisure, Anantara, Asian markets such as ASEAN, China and India are more resilient than Europe in times of crisis.
“Asia is a solid market,” he said. “Even during the floods, there was still a steady stream of guests from Asia, especially FITs who have been to Thailand before. They kept the occupancy and room rates afloat during a very difficult time.”
- Read more in TTG Asia, February 10 issue