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Omicron Covid-19 Fears Hinder Domestic Travel Plans

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Omicron Covid-19 infections continue to surge in Thailand, sentiment for domestic travel remains extremely weak. Domestic travellers are opting to stay home due to the Omicron sure and higher commodity prices.

The drop in domestic travel comes despite travel incentives like the government’s “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy scheme and local events aimed at generating more travel within Thailand.

According to the president of the Thai Hotels Association’s (THA) northern chapter, Mrs. La-Iad Bungsrithong, bookings from the fourth phase of the stimulus have not picked up as strongly as hoteliers expected due to Omicron concerns.

In the past week, there have been more than 10,000 Omicron cases of Covid-19 per day, and on Monday there were 14,900 cases and 26 fatalities.

As a result, only 300,000 room nights were booked for the first week of the campaign, a significant decrease from previous phases of the campaign, according to Mrs. La-Iad.

A total of 471,310 rooms from an additional two million room nights have been reserved as of Feb 13.

It was expected that the occupancy rate for January and February in Chiang Mai would be 55% out of the 70% or 40,000 rooms available at the moment. Due to the spread of the Omicron variant, the occupancy rate fell to less than 20% in January.

Omicron infections and low purchasing power

Despite hosting Chiang Mai Blooms 2022, a flower festival held from Feb 1 to March 15, Mrs. La-Iad said the impact clouds the outlook for this month due to bookings hovering around 20%.

In November and December last year, Chiang Mai airport handled 7,000-8,000 passengers per day. However, from Feb. 1, the number had dropped to 4,000-5,000.
Mrs. La-Iad said that the high price of fuel has also lowered the demand from domestic tourists who were planning on driving to their destinations.

The prevalence of Omicron infections and low purchasing power has also contributed to the low occupancy rate through the Cha-am 50/50 app, according to THA’s western chapter president Varon Kittikul.

Weekend occupancy in the resort city was 30%-40%, compared to 10%-20% during the week. The majority of the guests attended meetings or seminars organized by private companies.

In spite of the work-from-home policy being lifted at the end of January, Mr. Vason said the number of state agencies visiting was very low.

In order to boost tourism, Phetchaburi plans to hold the Phra Nakhon Khiri-Muang Phet Fair in February.

In the meantime, forward bookings have yet to be seen since domestic travellers tend to make last-minute decisions based on the viral situation.

It is likely that bookings will pick up in March and April since there are long holidays during which families will use stimulus campaign advantages to plan vacations.

Related CTN News:

Omicron Covid-19 Cases in Thailand Surge in 2022

Omicron Cases Top 10,000 Daily, Public to Keep Calm

8 Reasons Why Travelling to Thailand is Good for Your Health

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