Hospitals and alternative quarantine (AQ) facilities have resumed normal hotel operations as Covid-19 is expected to be declared endemic next month.
Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun, vice president of the Thai Hotel Association, said the hospitals, which are hotels that provide beds for patients with mild symptoms, ended their operations last month, helping ease the burden of care. of health throughout the peak period of infections.
People infected with the Omicron variant generally preferred to choose home isolation over hospitals, compared to patients infected with the more severe Delta variant last year.
After hospital services are completed, hotels must perform rigorous cleaning and maintenance services before moving to normal operations.
Hotels that served as hospitals and previously depended on Chinese groups will suffer the most, he said. Lack of workers also poses a challenge, as experienced staff have left the hospitality industry for good.
Mr Thienprasit said the shift to hospital service has helped keep revenue stable for hotels amid the downturn in tourism in recent years, but the return to hotel operations could mean moderate growth until the start of the peak season. in October.
The QA facilities were officially retired by the Department of Health Services Support on May 31. Infection levels will determine whether the quarantine service returns, said Prin Pathanatham, president of Club Next Thailand, formerly known as AQ Club Thailand.
In the last month of AQ’s operation, the number of properties in Bangkok stood at 128, with hoteliers opting for a hybrid model to accommodate both quarantined guests and daily guests attending meetings and seminars. .
He said arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport forced to stay at AQ facilities were only 3-30 people a day after the rules were relaxed on May 1, compared to 600-700 a day in the second half of 2021 .
“About 10% of AQ hotels decided to temporarily close for refurbishment to prepare for the peak season. Some were losing money as demand lagged, especially hotels not affiliated with international brands,” said declared Mr. Prin.
Some AQ hoteliers have turned to the Middle East market by offering Muslim-friendly services such as halal food, while others are targeting domestic tourists and the meetings segment, he said. declared.