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Thailand at the Crossroads: Leading Forum Reboots to Find Way Forward After Bangkok Shutdown Threatens Tourism Meltdown

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Leading travel and tourism platform, Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) 2014, has been reconvened for April 21 as a result of strong demand from the local and regional trade eager to tap into a discussion that will provide indicators for the future of Asian’s most dynamic tourism market.

The event was postponed at the height of the political demonstrations in January, but has been rebooted with a distinguished line-up of speakers, to enable the gathering to take place at the InterContinental Bangkok Grand Ballroom, Level 4 on Monday April 21.

Industry leaders participating come from major organisations such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Minor International, ONYX Hospitality Group, Accor Asia Pacific, Horwath HTL, STR Global, QUO Global, Sukosol Hotels, Montara Hospitality, Jones Lang LaSalle, Digital Innovation Asia and Baker & McKenzie.

TTF is organized by the American Chamber of Commerce Thailand, in association with C9 Hotelworks, and is now in its third year. Entry is free.

The topic of the event, “What’s Next For Thailand Tourism?” could not be more pertinent as ongoing political issues have ruptured the industry in Bangkok but equally seen business diverted to the island destinations of Koh Samui and Phuket.

The latest figures from the Tourism Authority of Thailand show a February down by 8% overall, with Asian markets hardest hit, but interestingly showing opportunities in the mature long-haul markets of Europe where there were gains of up to 20% over last year.

However, in Bangkok hotel owners are facing a mounting financial downturn due to the ongoing crisis. According to new data released by STR Global, citywide hotel occupancy in January declined 26% in year-on-year performance. This escalated in February with demand falling by 37% compared to the same month in 2013. Fortunately the collateral damage to room rates has not materialized, with only a 1.8% downturn registering.

Viewing the broader Thailand accommodation sector outside of Bangkok, hotels in resort destinations and tertiary cities, STR reports that February numbers declined only 2%, but this was positively offset by a 2.7% increase in average daily rates.

Looking inside the numbers, hospitality consulting firm C9 Hotelworks’ Bill Barnett said: “Trading risk in areas outside for Thailand’s capital city have benefited from a sustained build-up of direct airlift over the past five years. Travellers have the option to bypass Bangkok and their confidence in Brand Thailand remains generally positive. We saw a similar trend demonstrated during the previous crisis in 2011, with primarily resort markets retaining strong international trading.”

The event begins at 3pm with registration, followed by a full programme events from 4pm followed by cocktails and networking at 6pm until 7pm.

More information on the event, its programme and speakers please visit www.thailandtourismforum.com

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