Thailand’s problem is a lack of European visitors:
A leading hotelier has said that Thai tourism is suffering and the lack of European visitors is as plain as day.
The comments come in a Voice TV report that paints a grim picture of the Thai tourism outlook in 2019.
This channel has often irked the Thai authorities with its forthright assessments.
Natthapong La-orwong of the Sofitel group said that the lack of expected numbers from China and Korea was one thing but the disappearance of Europeans from the Thai tourism sector was obvious.
He cited Brexit and the strong value of the Thai baht as major contributing factors.
He also said that less people from Hong Kong were coming due to the protests there and the lack of business people coming to Thailand was hitting trade.
The competition was great with hotels engaged in price wars and marketing strategies promoting food deals and good service above all else.
An unnamed hotelier in Phuket painted a picture of even greater doom and gloom. The hotelier said that following the Phoenix boat disaster tourism on the island was down 25-30% but even compared to 2017 levels it was down 20%.
However, they said that if you ask some hoteliers in Phuket they will say that in reality tourism is down 50%.
In general Voice, TV pointed to the poor world economy and the strength of the baht that have hit the tourism industry.
They said that the industry had “lost momentum” after posting rises in numbers from 35.6 million visitors in 2017, 38.3 last year and only 19.8 in the first half of this year.
They said that the Bank of Thailand had downgraded its assessment of tourist arrivals for 2019 from 40.4 million to just 39 million.
With the high season for tourism just around the corner the credit rating agency TRIS had deemed that the tourism sector was in trouble, they said.
Chinese tourist arrivals were down to 5.6 million in the first half of 2019 said Voice that represented a 4.7% decline.
Voice TV is noted for its liberal stance and political-centric analysis that has often caused it to run foul of the Thai authorities.
It is owned by Pathongthae Shinawatra the son of fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.