The Thai news report says the hotel occupancy rate is down 20% due to the Global Economy, competition from Vietnam and other southeast Asian nations.
The Deputy Mayor of Pattaya said the statistics of various hotels in Pattaya during the high season of the year 2019 or since mid-October. Which occupies typically almost 100% of occupancy rates, now down from around 20%, which means that tourists in Pattaya also decreased by 20% as well.
In 2018, there were 14,259,261 tourists in Pattaya, 4,939,657 Thai tourists, 9,319,604 foreign tourists, mostly from China, India and Russia, being the top 3.
This year in 2019, the number of Chinese and Korean tourists decreased slightly by about 2% due to the change in travel destinations to Vietnam. And due to the shift in fewer solo travellers and travellers travelling in small groups.
However, Indian tourists are still growing due to the influence of visa fee exemption at the immigration, and the economic conditions of India are still growing.
The article also said, Indian tourists, prefer to travel in small groups of around 20-30 people, most of whom are male. And the cost per person in one day is nearly 10,000 baht (about $330 USD), more than Chinese tourists with the price per person per head is about 5,000 baht.
10,000 baht per Indian tourist, which is 2 times more than the Chinese, seem a bit too much for me. The article did not say about the new or old Thai visa policy (whatever, you know what I mean), like the TM30, TM28, insurance for a retirement visa, money in Thailand bank and the strong baht. They only mention travellers going to Vietnam and the Global Economy.
Two Reasons For The Slowdown of Thailand’s Tourism Industry
The world economy, the trade war with US-China and the baht value are a factor that weakens Thai tourism numbers. While hotel operators hope the government comes out to help with the current weaken tourism industry, and to promote domestic tourism.
A Thai Rating Company Publish a report on Thailand Tourism Industry, which found the slowdown of tourism industry growth from two main factors, namely the global economic downturn and strong baht.
These two factors have reduced the number of tourists travelling to Thailand. After 2018, the number of tourists entering Thailand was 38.3 million people, compared to 35.6 million from the previous year.
Thailand Has Lost its Momentum
However, this year (2019), Thailand has lost its momentum. In the first half of 2019, the number of foreigners visiting Thailand was only 19.8 million people, an increase of just 1.4% compared to the same period last year. Causing the Bank of Thailand to adjust the number of tourists who enter the country to an estimation of 39 million this year, down from 40.4 million people.
Chinese tourists, which are the main tourist groups in Thailand, account for 29% of the total number of tourists in the past several years — still falling steadily since July 2018 after a ferry accident in Phuket — combined with the effects of the US/China trade war affecting the Chinese economy. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists dropped to 5.6 million in the first half of 2019, down by 4.7% compared to the same period last year.
Chinese and Korean tourists drop a little at about 2% from the previous year. However, tourists from Europe have decreased significantly due to currency and Brexit problems. While tourists from Hong Kong declined due to protests and business fell due to the high competition of the hotel industry in Thailand.
Thailand’s Luxury Hotel Industry is also Down
A hotelier said that when customers choose to stay in a luxury hotel in Thailand or a 5-star hotel. They need to pay about 25% more than the average hotel. Therefore, when the baht appreciates. These tourists may consequently have to think about the money they have to pay when coming to Thailand. And many opt to go to neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, which are cheaper.
Researchers suggest that domestic tourism contributes to the satisfactory proportion of the Thai tourism industry due to two main factors: Travel that can be used for tax reduction and the quality of domestic flights has improved.
Statistics show that Thai domestic tourism numbers have been steadily increasing since 2012, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) assessing the value of domestic tourism to reach 1.17 million in 2019, which raised approximately 11.6%.
Also, Thai flight numbers in the first half of 2019 increased by 2.6% compared to the same period last year, reaching 113 million flights. It is valued at 5.36 billion baht.
So basically, what I gather here is the trade war between the US and China is slowing down the Thai tourism industry because the Chinese are the biggest international travellers entering Thailand as well as the appreciation of the Thai baht, which makes Thailand a bit more expensive to travel as compared to other neighbouring nations like Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. Also, an increase in domestic travel with Thais is increasing as Thais can use their travel expenses in the country for tax reduction.