BANGKOK – The Thai government is expected to unveil a third round of stimulus worth more than 500 billion baht (US$15.3 billion) to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on the country’s more than 30,000 hotels who are seeing revenue dry up.
Thailand’s finance minister Uttama Savanayana said on Monday (30 March) that the ministry is working with the central bank and relevant agencies on the package.
It had already released two relief packages, the first was a 400-billion-baht package while the second was worth 117 billion baht.
Hotels: zero revenue in April
This help cannot come soon enough for hotels around the country who are set to lose all revenue as the country tightens its lockdown measures in provincial areas.
Among Thailand’s 32,564 registered hotels, some 95%, or 30,936 hotels, expect to have zero income in April when they temporarily cease operations, according to the Thai Hotels Association (THA).
The number of hotel closures is growing each day as more provinces have imposed stricter lockdown policies, according to Surapong Techaruvichit, an adviser to THA, with Phuket the latest destination to prohibit people from freely travelling in and out of the area.
Mr Surapong said most hotels in provincial areas prefer a clear order from the authorities to close all hotels for the sake of employees, making them eligible for benefits from the Social Security Fund (SSF).
Phuket hotels to close
Hoteliers in Phuket are expecting the greatest losses. Some 87% of hotels of the 400-odd registered on the island are expected to temporarily close in April to comply with a one-month lockdown, according to Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of THA's southern chapter.
Most of the 3,000 foreign tourists currently in Phuket are expected to leave before the airport enters full lockdown from 10 April to 30 April.
Meanwhile, Centara Group said it will close 28 hotels, of which 25 are located in Thailand, for the month of April, while continuing to look after its employees.
The central bank expects the Thai economy to contract 5.3% this year, which will mark the first shrinkage since the global financial crisis in 2009.