With Thailand having been preparing to start opening up to international tourism, the latest surge of COVID-19 in south and south east Asia is potentially set to delay these plans
With an increasing number of Coronavirus cases in Thailand, a recent survey of the country’s hotel industry suggest nearly half of all hotels could close in under three months.
According to a study published by Thai newspaper The Nation, a massive 47% of hotels only have enough cash to last no longer than three months.
The survey is focused on the Bank of Thailand’s April 2021 trust index of hotel business operators, which surveyed 188 hotels nationwide from 12th to 26th April.
30 of the hotels are alternative state quarantine (ASQ) facilities, according to the survey.
Due to the new COVID-19 surge, 56 establishments recorded a 20% drop in liquidity compared to the previous month, while 47% said their liquidity situation could keep their hotels open for less than three months.
In addition, 46% of hotels were open as normal, while 13% had temporarily closed their doors, according to the survey. The majority of the hotels that have closed are in the southern area and catered to international visitors.
The report advised “most of the closed hotels planned to reopen again in the fourth quarter of the year when the situation improves.
The occupancy rate of 158 hotels that are not serving as quarantine centres is at 18% on average. Hotels in the northern region have the lowest occupancy rate of 4.1%, followed by the Northeast at 10.9%, Central at 18.7% and South at 23.2%.
The Bank of Thailand estimates that the average occupancy rate in May could drop to as low as 9 percent if the outbreak persists.
The hotel survey also revealed that hotel businesses still in operation employ 59% of staff compared to before the latest wave was reported. The measures hotels use to manage staff during COVID-19 include salary cuts, letting employees use their sick days, granting leave without pay, and alternating working days.
While the pandemic surge in Thailand is so far largely confined in the capital Bangkok, Thailand’s prime minister said he wants to secure more vaccines for his country and give as many first doses as possible.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration last week announced that it will extend restrictions that were due to end last weekend until 17th May. They include limiting restaurants to takeaway meals, closing 35 types of venues including bars, gyms, stadiums, and boxing rings, and limiting the operating hours of other businesses.
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