The lack of balance between tourism demand under the special tourist visa (STV) scheme and the number of quarantine facilities has made hoteliers lukewarm about applying for alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) status.
According to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the number of foreign visitors is limited to 1,200 per month during the trial STV scheme to bring back tourists.
The additional investment to gain alternative state quarantine (ASQ) and ALSQ status may not be worth it given the lack of demand.
Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive of Centara Hotels and Resorts, said the decision to join the ASQ programme is based on hotel location, sufficient demand from tourists and cost of investment to meet the requirements. Inbound demand remains low, he said.
The company has a single property — Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok, which partners with Piyavate Hospital — approved for ASQ status.
Another property in Phuket has applied for approval.
“As the country is limiting arrivals, we plan to focus on attracting tourists who already cleared mandatory quarantine instead,” Mr Thirayuth said.
If the government allows more foreign tourists to enter at a later stage, then the company may push more of its hotels into the ASQ scheme.
He insisted the company’s resistance in not certifying more hotels for ASQ has nothing to do with reputation, as he believes the safety and hygiene measures are stringent.
There are 103 hotels in Bangkok already approved by the Public Health Ministry and Defence Ministry to operate as ASQ facilities.
Another 30 hotels located in Pattaya, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Surat Thani and Buri Ram are ready to serve as ALSQ.
“We have seen demand softening as more hotels pivot to serve as ASQ facilities,” said Patrick Basset, chief operating officer of Accor for Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia, and the Maldives.
For Thailand, Accor already has six hotels serving as ASQ facilities, while 12 hotels are in the application process.
Overall occupancy rate for Accor’s ASQ hotels in Thailand during September was between 48-68%.
Mr Basset said the group offers a wide range of hotels to meet the needs of various inbound travellers who enter Thailand, from economy choices to premium options.
Similar models to quarantine foreigners such as ASQ in Thailand have been used across the region, especially for business travellers, said Mr Basset.
Hotels in neighbouring countries including Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines adapted their properties for quarantine services, which require heightened sanitisation measures to maintain the highest levels of hygiene.
He said Accor operates five quarantine service hotels in Vietnam, three in Philippines, two in Laos and one in Myanmar.
In Vietnam, after international arrivals pass a health screening on arrival, they can choose to undergo quarantine in hotels or centralised facilities provided by the government, at US$5 per day for food and daily necessities.
According to local media, there are 24 quarantine hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, which offer room rates of around US$52-216.
Source : Bangkok Post