Tourism receipts in 77 provinces set another historic low in 2021 with revenue declining by 69.55% to 241,350 billion baht, while the income gap between Bangkok and other major provinces remained wide, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Meanwhile, almost 42% of hotel operators remain concerned about the COVID-19 situation, even though more have started to reopen.
Last year the capital posted the highest revenue at 62.7 billion baht, plummeting by 75.39%, while Chiang Mai lagged in second place with a decrease of 53.27% to 23.3 billion baht, followed by Phuket at 21.3 billion baht, a drop of 80.34%.
In the bottom half, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Amnat Charoen and Samut Sakhon earned the lowest tourism income at 58.24 million baht, 139.6 million baht and 142.2 million baht, respectively.
The tourism recession carried on from 2020, in which total revenue from 77 provinces plunged 55.4% to 482 billion baht.
The hotel business operator sentiment index conducted by the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and the Bank of Thailand which polled 200 operators nationwide between 10th-26th January also reported the ongoing impact from the pandemic as 49% of them had revenue lower than 30% compared to the pre-Covid level.
The average occupancy rate in January dipped to 32% from 37% in December as the temporary suspension of the Test & Go programme put a brake on new arrivals.
Some 50% of hotels had less income compared to December, while 53% had cash flow to sustain them for less than three months.
“Three-quarters of hotels were uneasy about the Omicron threat as 42% of them were deeply concerned about the situation and 44% were moderately worried about the latest outbreak, particularly hotels in the North which recorded a high number of cases,” said Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of THA.
She said most of the hotels were affected because domestic travellers reduced out-of-home activities, while Test & Go’s suspension impacted bookings from international guests.
Even though 73% have already returned to business, the declining employment rate compared to December is still worrying.
Employment in the hotel sector last month was 63.6% of the 2019 level as half of hotels pivoted to casual employment to cope with the uncertain viral situation and to reduce fixed costs.
“As the Test & Go programme has resumed from this month, average occupancy in February is expected to match December’s level. However, with higher operating costs amid sluggish income, hotel operators would like the government to extend land tax reduction of 90% for at least two years,” said Mrs Nunbhakdi.