Appeal to the State to readjust the regime
Small hotels should have more advantages
A group of children play on Cha-am Beach in Phetchaburi Province.
Tourism operators in resort towns near Bangkok are urging the government to adjust a hotel subsidy program called We Travel Together to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get more benefits.
Wassana Srikkanchana, president of the Hua Hin-Cha Am Tourism Association, said that small hotels with less than 25 rooms struggle to survive as they cannot get any loans and rarely receive a windfall from the tourist measure, because Thais normally opt for luxury hotels.
Hua Hin currently has around 200 hotels, with 8,000-9,000 rooms, 60% of which are SMEs with only 2-3% occupancy on weekdays and 40-50% on weekends.
However, the occupancy rate of four and five star hotels increases to 20-30% on working days and to 80-90% on weekends, while room rates have returned to the same level before the outbreak, in especially seaside hotels.
“The government needs to adjust some benefits, especially for SMEs, to let them become more competitive,” Ms. Wassana said.
She suggested that the subsidy for small businesses or hotels with less than three stars should be increased from 40% to 70% to give more opportunities to travel to those with less income.
“Advance bookings which require at least seven days should be reduced to three days as has been observed in previous phases of this program to meet the demand of tourists for last minute trips,” said Karun Suttharomn, chairman of acting of the Phetchaburi Tourism Board.
He said that with these adjustments, hotel occupancy in Cha-am is expected to reach 70-75% this month, after room rates have already rebounded to 90% from 2019 levels and are expected to rise. fully recover by mid-November.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), 890,781 rooms have been reserved in 3,797 hotels by 323,353 Thais as part of the November 7 stimulus program.
Meanwhile, the government subsidized 1.34 billion baht out of a total of 3.49 billion.
Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT’s deputy governor for national marketing, said the agency would monitor the travel situation to develop new plans that can ensure mutual benefits for all operators.
Besides hotel subsidies, she said demand for Tour Teaw Thai, which subsidizes 40% of tour packages up to 5,000 baht per million Thais, is still sluggish.
As of November 7, 3,091 tours have been sold, while only 299 tourists have already traveled, generating baht 2 million.
She said the local market prefers independent travel, so new tourism stimulus through tour packages may not effectively boost domestic travel.