Asia Minute: Thailand could try cheaper hotel rooms for locals

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Visitor traffic to Hawaiʻi is now at more than 90% of pre-pandemic levels — and that’s even with a continued decline in tourist numbers from Japan. But the hospitality industry is still struggling in many parts of the world. And that includes a Southeast Asian country that could try a new approach to help the industry – and local residents.

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism came up with a new business idea.

The basic idea is that hotels charge two different rates – a higher one for foreign visitors and a cheaper one for domestic travelers.

Prices have been slashed across the board at properties across the country as operators scramble to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic.

Travel resumes.

The Ministry of Tourism reports that international arrivals nearly quadrupled from January to May this year – but that’s from a low base.

On July 1, the Thai government eased a number of travel restrictions.

Masks are no longer required and a color-coded system to assess risk levels and permitted activities has been discontinued.

Visitors with proof of vaccination can skip a PCR test upon arrival.

This week, a government spokeswoman said the price change was linked to maintaining Thailand’s tourism brand for international travellers.

The Deputy Prime Minister compared the brand to Louis Vuitton – saying ‘the more expensive, the more customers’.

A key group that has yet to speak out publicly on the subject: the hospitality industry.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will hold talks with the Hotel Association of Thailand “soon”.

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