Before the pandemic, Bangkok was the most visited city on the planet – a thriving beehive of energy and activity that attracted more than 22 million international visitors a year. Then, without warning, everything quieted down. Now, after the Test & Go re-entry restart in Thailand on February 1, 2022, Bangkok is back. The city is once again welcoming travelers from all over the world, hotel rates are starting to rise and restaurants are reopening. But what does the future hold for the Thai capital?
These topics were tackled head-on in “Bangkok is Back!”, a fast and furious 45-minute webinar that saw a panel of industry experts come together and dive deep into the critical issues affecting Thailand’s capital. Organized by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, the virtual event featured expert insights from data analysts, hotel owners and operators, general managers and restaurateurs, to create a 360-degree view degrees from the city’s hotel sector.
Jesper Palmqvist, regional manager for Asia-Pacific at STR, the hotel benchmarking specialists, revealed that while Bangkok’s occupancy still has a lot to do, the city’s average daily rate is a reason for concern. ‘to be optimistic.
“Bangkok’s occupancy rate remains low – just 27% of rooms open. But ADR held up relatively well compared to other cities in the region, such as Singapore or Hong Kong. The luxury sector was the most affected. This is a demand driven crisis and luxury has really struggled to maintain occupancy, but other markets are growing. »
“International travelers are ready to return to Thailand, but for now they are heading to the islands. They do not yet have the confidence to return to Bangkok. But we have a beautiful scenario under construction, with nearly 70% of Thailand now vaccinated against Covid-19. This is not only important in Thailand, but also in source markets. If people are vaccinated, they are more willing to travel. The important thing is that restrictions decrease and countries open up. It sure is hopeful.
Markland Blaiklock, deputy general manager of Centara Hotels & Resorts, said during the webinar that he was “full of energy” for the recovery of tourism in Bangkok.
“The pandemic has been like a roller coaster, but not as fun. So while we are cautious about the latest reopening, we are very excited and positive about the future.
“In Bangkok, the vaccination rate is close to 90% and this is excellent news. Test & Go has just started, but as word spreads more and more people will see how easy it is to enter the country. Centara strives to make the customer experience as authentic and enjoyable as possible, while maintaining high health and safety standards. We are seeing an increase in booking levels and Bangkok is picking up. It’s a great end to the year and hopefully a good preparation for what lies ahead.
STR’s Jesper Palmqvist and Centara’s Markland Blaiklock were joined in the webinar by Nopparat Aumpa, Senior Assistant Vice President and General Manager of Banyan Tree Bangkok, and Sunny Bajaj, General Manager of Amburaya Hotels, who offered the perspective hoteliers, Killian Donoghue, General Manager of Le Méridien Bangkok, who addressed the crucial issue of human resources, and Rohit Sachdev, CEO of SOHO Hospitality, who shed light on the restaurant sector.
This virtual think tank was moderated – in an original and inimitable style – by Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, and David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications.
“Bangkok is back! The borders have reopened and the city is once again welcoming the world. But this is uncharted territory; what do the coming months have in store for the City of Angels? It’s a new situation, an act of faith, a step into the unknown. But as Doc Brown says in “Back to the Future”: “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”
“Bangkok’s recovery is now in the fast lane, and we hope that with these forward-looking online thoughts, we can help the industry prepare for it.”
To watch Bangkok is Back, please click HERE