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Hotel performance sluggish

posted Jul 29, 2011, 8:26 PM by Dong Travel   [ updated Jul 29, 2011, 8:28 PM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
Thailand’s hotels reported disappointing occupancies in June, Thai Hotels Association president Prakit Chinamornpong told members, Tuesday, during the association’s bi-monthly meeting.

But he remained confident that the country would reach its arrivals target, year-end based on a January to June performance that was positive.

Mr Prakit said June occupancies were sluggish across all regions, but were especially poor in Chiang Mai. Hotels in the Northeast were not included as member hotels in that region failed to provide data.

Prakit Chinamornpong The occupancy rates were: Chiang Mai 37%; Bangkok 60 to 65%; Pattaya 62%, Hua Hin and Cha-am 45%, Phang Nga 15%; Krabi 27% and Phuket 60.3%.

“Traditionally this is a poor month for bookings, but it should have been better in Chiang Mai,” said Mr Prakit. Asked to cite reasons, he said: “Chiang Mai relies on European travellers, but EU countries are facing an economic crisis particularly in Greece, Spain and Italy; three markets that produce steady travel patterns in the low-season,” said Mr Prakit.

But tourism is picking up for Thailand mainly driven by the three key markets – China, India and Russia. Travel firms and hotels that have ignored these three markets are suffering serious declines and in some instances forcing lay-offs. Hotels and tour operators that were flexible enough to switch from a dependence on Europe to exploiting opportunities in India saw bookings improve this year.

Asian Trails CEO, Luzi Matzig said the Indian market had been a life saver for the company delivery substantial gains since earlier in the year.

“It has turned into an incredible market where we have picked up profitable business, while European markets remains very slow,” he said.

According to Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ most recent data, tourist arrivals reached 9.6 million during the first half of this year.

“I think it’s possible for the second half of the year to perform well and we will close the year ahead of the target,” the THA president said.

He emphasised the importance of the Russian market for beach destinations, although admitting some Scandinavian travel agents had complained that Russian tour operators were paying over the odds for rooms causing inflatory rate quotes. The criticism first surfaced during a TUI Nordic presentation at the Thailand Travel Mart in early June.

Mr Prakit confirmed Scandinavian tour operators had threatened to reduce room allotments at beach resorts if hotels accepted bookings from Russian tourists, claiming they were noisy and spoiled the holiday atmosphere for Scandinavians, mainly family tourists.

“Personally I don’t agree with this kind of talk as I think the trend will continue as long as there is sufficient demand in the Russian market and they have the purchasing power to secure allotments,” he said.

TUI Nordic described Russian tourists as noisy, uncouth, and showing off in a manner that offended the “quiet, polite” Scandinavians who travel as families. Hoteliers were told it would be difficult to cater successfully to the two markets under one roof.

A hotelier in Phuket told TTR Weekly it was just sour grapes on the part of Scandinavian tour operators. ” Now they have to pay a little more for the rooms after years of squeezing hotels dry. They should know better than make these kind of comments about other nationalities.”

Source: TTRW