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Hotels around the demonstrations in Bangkok have launched promotions and discounts in a hope of attracting protestors to compensate for their loss of income during the “Bangkok shutdown”.
The Centara Hotels group has reduced the room rates in all four of their hotels from around five thousand baht a night to three thousand one hundred including breakfast.
Novotel Bangkok Siam Square is offering a special discount price of two thousand two hundred baht a night for a room for the night and one thousand five hundred for daytime use of their rooms until 6pm.
Chairwoman for public relations at the Thai Hotels Association, who is also executive assistant manager of sales and marketing at the Twin Towers Hotel Supawan Tanomkieatipume said that many hotel operators, especially near rally sites such as Pathumwan, had adjusted their business strategies and are doing their best to cut costs during this time The Twin Towers Hotel in Pathumwan has been cutting its temporary staff in catering area and have laid off around twenty people, however the permanent staff of 400 has been maintained as per normal.
“We normally have occupancy rates of 70-80 per cent on average in the first quarter. However, it has plunged to between 40 and 60 per cent currently. We expect to lose between 10-20 per cent in sales opportunities per month if the Bangkok shutdown is prolonged.
“The hotel industry will enter the low season in the second quarter, so attractive promotions to lure Thai customers should be a necessity at this time of political difficulty. This is to compensate for a significant drop in foreign tourists,” Supawan said.
Despite the woes of some Bangkok hotels, however, the Kingdom’s overall tourism industry has not suffered too badly since the shutdown started on Monday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand revealed. This is evidenced by a continuing flow of foreign arrivals, especially to major provinces.
In the first two weeks of January, foreign arrivals at Suvarnabhumi International Airport dropped by 2.58 per cent to 604,189 compared with the same period last year, but those at Don Meuang International Airport actually grew by 4.77 per cent to 71,907, thanks to low-cost carriers. In the period from January 1-12, foreign arrivals at Phuket International Airport also grew, by 12.06 per cent to 124,246 year on year.
However, there is no guarantee this trend will continue if the political conflict gets worse with the onset of violence between the anti- and pro-government sides.
Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor for marketing communications at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said travellers from Hong Kong were the most worrying group. About 40 per cent of tour packages for Chinese New Year from that city have reportedly been cancelled.
As for mainland Chinese, they have changed their trips to avoid protest-hit Bangkok, heading to Pattaya, Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai instead.
Hong Kong has also maintained its travel warning on Thailand at Level 4 (the second-highest), “reconsider your need to travel”.
Interestingly, some Chinese have chosen to travel by car from southern locations such as Kunming and Chengdu to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Phitsanulok.
The flow of Russian and European tourists is stable. Europeans have continued heading to beach resorts in the south on direct flights from their home nations and also via Bangkok. As for Russians, they are avoiding Bangkok and heading to Pattaya, Phuket or Krabi