(From left) Jesper Palmqvist, area director Asia-Pacific, STR Global; Clarence Tan, senior vice president Asia, Middle East and Africa, InterContinental Hotel Group; and Kenneth Gaw, president & managing principal, Gaw Capital Partners.
CONTRARY to popular belief, data presented at the Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) 2016 has shown that the occupancy rates of hotels in Thailand have set new records in 2015.
Jesper Palmqvist, Asia-Pacific area director, STR Global said that there has always been fluctuation in occupancy, especially during periods of crisis and political unrest. However, “the main strength of the Thai market is how fast it can recover,” he stated.
A panel discussion at TTF concurs, arguing that no matter how unstable Thai politics becomes, the economy had always survived the setback and rebounded.
Yet, there are concerns that the market is becoming stale. Tim Hansing, CEO of Red Planet Hotels, opined that the Thai market has already reached maturity and is becoming less attractive than other emerging markets in the region for hotels to invest in. “It is bland. There are more opportunities elsewhere,” he said.
Emerging beachfront destinations such as Samui, Hua Hin and Krabi remain the only bright spots for growth.
As well, Mike Batchelor, managing director of Investment Sales Asia, JLL, pointed out that there are still more unfulfilled demand in the midscale segment, even in Bangkok.
By Athip Jittarerk