Thailand welcomed 106,117 foreign tourists in the first 10 months of 2021, up from 40 million visitors before the pandemic.
Thailand was among the first countries in Asia to reopen for foreign arrivals, and is seeing a slow recovery, including new hotels touting longer stays for individual travelers.
In the first 10 months of 2021, Thailand hosted 106,117 foreign tourists, down from 6.7 million in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Thailand received around 40 million visitors per year.
Hotel companies like Asset World Corporation Pcl, which opened its 19th property this month, have seen the majority of its bookings come from Western countries and the Middle East.
“About 70% of total bookings came from Europe, including Germany, UK, Scandinavian countries, followed by US, Middle East and Asia,” said Managing Director Wallapa Traisorat to Reuters news agency, adding that domestic travel had helped. “For November, we should see a 30% occupancy rate, and in the fourth quarter, we hope to see better momentum from the reopening.”
Thailand, one of the region’s most popular destinations, is heavily dependent on tourism. In 2019, 40 million arrivals spent 1.91 trillion Thai baht ($ 57.3 billion).
Centara Hotels and Resorts is moving forward with plans to open a 1.1 billion baht ($ 30 million) hotel on Samui Island in December.
Initially, the property expects most guests to be locals for longer stays, said Gun Srisompong, CFO of Centara Hotels.
“Demand patterns have changed. Single travelers on longer stays and “workations” need more customization, ”Srisompong said.
Thailand expects only 200,000 foreign tourists this year, and five million in 2022.
Thinner crowds and discounts for a more enjoyable experience, said German tourist Markus Klarer.
“Now is the right time to come back to Thailand,” Klarer said.
Despite the reopening, some businesses have said the COVID-19 rules are still making some things difficult.
“Tourists are not fully confident and are always confused with government regulations,” said Chitchai Senwong, restaurant manager in Bangkok, citing a government rule banning alcohol consumption after 9 p.m. (2 GMT).