Thailand luring tourists with major discounts

Hotel News - 02/07/2009

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In addition, Phuket hotels are offering a fourth night’s stay for free and mountain lodges in Thailand’s north are giving free rounds of gold and spa treatments.

Thailand's tourism industry is facing its worst crisis in years and operators are going the extra mile to boost business that has seen a severe decline due to internal political upheaval, the global recession and fears related to the swine flu outbreak.

In 2009 so far, overseas arrivals have fallen by 16 per cent, and the country’s hotel occupancy rates are down to 44 percent, from last year’s level of 66 percent. Bangkok luxury hotels are reporting even lower occupancy rates.

“I don't see any positive factors,” said the Tourism Council of Thailand’s head, Kongrit Hiranyakit. He went on to say: “Oil prices are increasing, influenza is spreading all over the world. Political protests are bad for the country's image.”

The tourism exec has noted that the country’s tourism industry is expected to lose about 200 billion baht this year, which is down by more than one-third from last year’s 540 billion baht.

Thailand is also promoting domestic tourism, in order to counter the impact of the overall downturn, with many hotels offering major discounts to Thai residents.

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