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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Thailand’s high season is over after the massive cancellations

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Sadly, fears have materialized as tourists have massively cancelled reservations in popular destinations as the lengthy suspension of the Test & Go program has dampened enthusiasm for the remainder of the peak season.

khu. Pongsakorn Ketprapakorn, who is the chairman of the Phangnga Tourism Association, said about 60% of January bookings of 36 hotels in Phangnga were cancelled. Hotels have already lost more than 100 million baht, he said.

Travel agents in Europe, especially Scandinavia, have moved to other destinations such as Vietnam, Bali and the Maldives as the Test & Go suspension is likely to be extended until at least the end of this month.

Average occupancy rates reached 50-60% at the end of last year before collapsing to 20-30% now, Pongsakorn claims.

He said that even if the scheme resumes in February, foreigners are unlikely to return until March, as they will have to plan travel and apply for the Thailand Pass, which in itself is a time-consuming process.

“If no-sandbox areas can be opened during the Test & Go suspension, we may lose the opportunity in the high season and have to wait again until the end of the year,” said Mr Pongsakorn.

The cancellation rate in Krabi has increased by 30% from late December to January and there are no new bookings due to the suspension of Test & Go and the viral outbreak abroad, Charintip Tiyaphorn, chairman of the Krabi tourism association, said.

She said the average occupancy rate is now 20%, but more guests will cancel their plans if Krabi is not included in the sandbox areas.

Most tourists have opted for a refund of their airline tickets and hotel room bookings because it is easier than applying for the Phuket sandbox program, Charintip said.

She said the hotel business will bottom this month, with a single-digit occupancy rate seen before the country’s reopening. Bookings in February and March fluctuate around 35-40%.

Phisut Sae-Khu, chairman of the Eastern Association of Thai Hotel Owners, said the government should open the Thailand Pass system to allow tourists to pre-register under Test & Go.

Tourists should be able to plan their trips and enter the country later when the pandemic situation improves, which is a better option for the industry than cancelling their plans, he said.

The average hotel occupancy rate for Pattaya in January will not exceed 30% due to weak tourism sentiment, Phisut said.

The fifth Covid19 pandemic in Chon Buri also worsened the situation for domestic tourism as the hotels receive more cancellations.

He said his association is collecting 5,000 rooms to act as hotel isolation facilities or “hospitals” to help reduce the infection rate.

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