U.S. firm bullish on Bangkok hotel market
Bangkok’s hotel market has been a star performer and will continue to do well buoyed by the country’s strong tourism and aviation industries, as tourism numbers for the Thai capital continue to grow, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the Chicago-based global real estate consultancy firm.
Bangkok was the world’s most visited city in 2016, according to rankings published by United States-based MasterCard, beating out London and finishing in first place for the second time during the past decade. Travel and tourism in Bangkok generated $14.4 billion last year.
A total of 20.8 million people visited the Thai capital last year, representing a 7.5 percent increase over the previous year. With aggressive marketing by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and continuous improvements taking place in the city, that figure is expected to keep growing.
“We are positive about prospects in the Bangkok hotel market. Thailand’s tourism boom is likely to continue and generate consistent demand for hotel accommodation in the city in the foreseeable future,” said Frank Sorgiovanni, Head of Research Asia Pacific at Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) Hotels and Hospitality Group.
Bangkok is also maturing as a travel destination while retaining and even increasing its vitality and cosmopolitan character. Two commuter rail lines have made traveling around the traffic-congested town faster and more convenient, and as a result new and more varied entertainment areas have been opening up and expanding.
The robust growth of shopping centers built by conglomerates such as Central Group,where a cornucopia of high-end global brands and unique local products are on offer, has also boosted Bangkok’s attraction among global tourists.
But JLL said Thailand’s burgeoning aviation sector is playing a major role in the boom times for Bangkok’s hotels.
“Over the past several years, the hotel and hospitality sector in Thailand has benefited greatly from the fast growth of the country’s tourism industry. Improved international air connectivity, specifically the proliferation of regional low-cost carriers, has contributed a lot to this growth,” Sorgiovanni said.
A decade ago, when New Bangkok International Airport at Suvarnabhumi opened up, the government shuttered the old airport Don Muang. However, the growth of budget airlines and increasing numbers of visitors soon had the government re-opening Don Muang to handle the increasing numbers of flights and visitors.
Both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang are undergoing expansion projects that will take several years to complete, but that will also result in increasing numbers of visitors to Bangkok. Tourist arrivals at Suvarnabhumi, now 45 million per year, are expected to double over the next decade.
Now, the government is preparing to open a third international airport within striking distance of the capital at U-Tapao in neighboring Chonburi province.
Royal Thai Embassy, Washington, D.C.
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