The Asia-Pacific region might lead the global hospitality industry’s post-COVID-19 pandemic rebound, but a full recovery is unlikely in the short term as nations cautiously navigate opening their borders, Minor Hotels Group chief executive Dillip Rajakarier said yesterday.
Addressing an online news conference, the Thailand-based hotelier said that the Asia-Pacific region and Southeast Asia “may see a faster rebound than markets elsewhere due to relatively mild outbreak.”
The group, which owns, operates and invests in more than 530 hotels under the Anantara, AVANI, Oaks, Marriott, Four Seasons and other brands, has been hit hard by the pandemic, with occupancy at its properties plunging to 5, 10 and 15 percent this year, he said.
The normal high season occupancy rate for hotels in popular Thai locations is more than 90 percent.
“We’re prepared for that,” he said.
Properties in Vietnam would fare better with 45 to 50 percent of occupancy, driven by domestic travelers, he said.
Vietnam has been cited by the global media as having one of the best-run epidemic control programs in the world, along with Taiwan and South Korea.
The Thai Hotels Association last week called on authorities to lift a 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors from countries that have successfully contained the spread of COVID-19.
The quarantine order should be revoked when both Thailand and origin countries have contained the pandemic, the association said, suggesting that the kingdom’s authorities require health certificates, social distancing and other preventive measures instead.
Rajakarier said that he expects to soon see travelers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and some ASEAN nations that have done a good job combating the virus.
However, it would take 12 to 18 months before the tourism industry achieves a full recovery, he said.
Hotels around the world are focusing on domestic visitors during the transition, Rajakarier said.
“Minor Hotels will not join a pricing war, but will emphasize value and the quality of its properties,” he said.
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