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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicts at least 8 million foreign visitors

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicts that at least 8 million foreign visitors will arrive in the first four months of this year, putting the country on track to welcome at least 25 million tourists by the end of 2023.

The significant increase in international visitors to numerous Thai provinces during the Songkran Festival was evidence of the Thai tourism industry’s resurgence.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn recommended operators of businesses related to tourism to avoid engaging in price wars in light of the faster-than-anticipated recovery trends in the Thai tourism sector. He urged them to make the most of the pent-up demand from out-of-country visitors who were unable to travel due to the Covid-19 lockdown and limitations. According to him, this window of opportunity to make up part of the lost income from the epidemic should extend for at least one more year.

The chief executive officer and president of Asset World Corp Plc (AWC), Wallapa Traisorat, stated that the current outlook for tourism is positive for hotels managed by AWC that are primarily in the upscale class and situated in popular tourist areas like Bangkok and Phuket.

Even with the two-fold rise in accommodation rates from the rates prior to the pandemic, the average room occupancy rate currently stands at 80%. More importantly, Wallapa continued, the sluggish but steady revival in business at Chiang Mai’s upmarket hotels should be aided in the near future by the gradual return of Chinese tourists.

The revival of the tourism industry, according to Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), has allowed certain hotels to raise their room rates.

According to a poll done by the THA and the Bank of Thailand in March of this year, 74% of hotels (5 stars and up) have raised their room prices over the levels that were in place before to the Covid-19 epidemic.

With only 34% of 4-star hotels able to raise their rates in comparison to before the Covid-19 issue, hotels with ratings below four stars have less flexibility in changing their room rates. Marisa reported that 26% of hotels with less than a 3-star rating were able to raise their rates compared to the time before the pandemic.

According to survey findings, 38% of hotels across all rating levels were able to change their room rates, with 17% being able to raise their rates by 16–30% from before Covid-19. In comparison to pre-pandemic rates, another 15% of hotels were only able to raise their rates by up to 15%, while 6% of hotels were able to do so by more than 30%, Marisa continued.

The poll found that 25% of hotel operators in Thailand are impacted by both the quantity and quality of guests, especially in areas with high occupancy rates like the South and Central regions, while 62% of hotel operators in Thailand still experience a labor shortage. The Eastern region, however, is most impacted by service quality.

According to Marisa, the majority of tourism industry operators believed that in the first three months of this year, Chinese tourists were still not a significant factor even after China abolished its Covid travel restrictions. More than 70% of respondents thought that compared to pre-pandemic figures, the percentage of Chinese visitors who stayed was still less than 20%.

However, operators of tourism-related businesses anticipate an increase in Chinese visitors in the second quarter of 2023, although over 80% of respondents think that the percentage of repeat visitors will still be lower than 40% compared to before the Covid epidemic.

Tanes Petsuwan, the deputy governor of TAT for Asia and the South Pacific, estimates that between January and April of this year, there would be at least 8 million international visitors, with more than 62% of those coming from Asia and the South Pacific.

The resurgence of Chinese tourists in Thailand is crucial to the country’s tourism industry. Based on the growing trend of roughly 10,000 Chinese tourists per day, which is anticipated to double to 20,000 travelers per day in the second half of this year, the TAT anticipates that at least 5 million Chinese tourists will travel to Thailand this year. According to Tanes, the TAT anticipates that in the third quarter of this year, Chinese visitors will outnumber those from Malaysia in terms of overall numbers.

TAT predicts that between 3.5 million and 4 million tourists from Malaysia would go to Thailand, while more than 1 million travelers from South Korea and India are also expected.

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