Bangkok has made a new record of international arrivals again, so what’s next?

Bangkok has made a new record of international arrivals again, so what’s next?

Following a robust year in 2016, the growth momentum continued in 2017, and is fully expected to continue on into 2018. The city’s upbeat performance is a fruition of hoteliers’ hard work and a little bit of luck when China shut the door to South Korea and Mount Agung in Bali did Thailand a big favour. The Bangkok hotel market enjoyed booming demand across the board with gravitation toward intraregional travels.

2018 outlook remains bright and positive but what lies ahead? One must ask oneself, “Are we reaching the peak after a long uphill battle or this is simply a moment before a
flight takes off?”

In all fairness, it is the million dollar question. Despite big numbers of visitation statistics, we must not forget that the two Bangkok airports, the city’s heart and soul feeding tourists to all hotel submarkets, are operating beyond capacity. Until bottlenecks are unlocked, we will likely see smaller waves of single-digit growth for consecutive years.

Mass tourism could lose its way to repeat success stories as owners and developers, local and international, are jumping on the bandwagon and supply is playing catchup.  Identifying a niche spot and crafting an irreplicable product would prove to be a strenuous task but eventually rewarding with a competitive advantage from high
barriers to entry.

There are plenty of beautiful properties built without knowing customer profile and they are ready to undercut one another for survival. When the going gets tough, the
tough get going.

So, infrastructure is a first and foremost step to success. This is attested by developed metropolises like Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong commanding big bucks of tourism spending. New demand generators are being developed as we see more (mega) mixed use complexes sprawling throughout Bangkok.

The goal is to capitalize on a new genre of discerning and experiential travellers who pay for what they value rather than a good value for money. If things go as planned in an orderly and coherent fashion, everyone’s hope of witnessing Bangkok benchmarked with other big names will not be just a dream.

It is great to think long term, but regardless the city’s destiny may be decided at the upcoming election, scheduled in early 2019. Another domestic quarrel with bad press could send the hotel market back to where it had been not long before. Then, hoteliers can only wink and wait patiently for the blue sky after a big storm as tourists start to play a merry-go-round again.

Bangkok Visitor Arrivals

Bangkok has gained significant popularity in the travel and tourism industry. MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the top destination city by international visitor arrivals in its Global Destination Cities Index, and Euromonitor International ranked Bangkok fourth in its Top City Destinations Ranking.

The city offers a wide range of tourism products from exquisite temples and palaces in the old quarter to modern recreational amenities including culinary adventure, night life, shopping and spa. MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition) and medical tourism in Bangkok are also enjoying international presence.

The city is a commercial and transport hub of Thailand and the Indochina region where long-haul business and leisure travellers fly into and/or use as a base to catch domestic or regional carriers to other destinations. Thailand has been the largest feeder market for Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia as local airlines in these countries are at an inaugural stage. In return, Bangkok captures their growing outbound travel demand.

Bangkok is also a connecting hub for travellers from China and Australia to South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. Providing direct connectivity with these major countries creates immense travel opportunities. Furthermore, Bangkok is one of a few cities outside
South Asia that operates direct scheduled flights to Bhutan, an upmarket vacation destination with a minimum daily spending requirement.

Credit to Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director, Horwath HTL

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