Harsh cancellations hit Thai hotels ahead of Songkran

Pattaya's host city status comes as Thailand works to position the destination as a MICE-friendly city while Eastern Economic Corridor development gets underway

Thailand’s latest wave of fresh Covid-19 infections has resulted in massive cancellations for hotels in major Thai cities ahead of the Songkran festival, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicting income losses of up to 50 per cent for the accommodation sector.

To contain the latest outbreak, the Thai government has imposed mandatory quarantines for travellers coming from high-risk provinces – 41 at the point of publication – as well as shut pubs and bars in the same provinces for two weeks.

Hotel occupancy in Pattaya is down to just 60 per cent for Songkran, usually a peak travel season

These measures have negated the government’s effort to boost domestic tourism by way of adding an extra day to the Songkran public holiday, which runs from April 12 to 15.

Numerous public events that have been planned for this week have also been disrupted. For instance, Amazing Songkran Buriram was issued a stop order on April 10, after opening on April 6. It was scheduled to conclude on April 15. As a result, remaining concerts, marathon and sports events were cancelled.

In Prachuap Khiri Khan province, famed for Hua Hin beach resorts, hotels have reported cancellations of 70 per cent of booked rooms.

Hotels in Ayutthaya province have had their bookings slashed by 40 per cent.

Hotels in Pattaya are now running at an average occupancy rate of 60 per cent for Songkran, down from a high reservation rate of 95 per cent. In the same eastern region, hotels in the seafront Rayong town saw 30 per cent of bookings being postponed.

TAT also reported a five to 15 per cent room cancellation in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces.

However, according to Bhumkit Raktaengam, president of the Tourism Business Association Phuket, hotel occupancy for the festive period has plunged from 80 per cent to just 35 despite the destination being a popular option with domestic travellers.

As of April 12, half of the hotel bookings made in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces were cancelled, shared La-iad Bungsrithong, president of the Thai Hotels Association Upper Northern Chapter.

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