DESPITE THE Sadao immigration checkpoint in southern Songkhla province having reopened after two years on Apr.l 1 hoteliers complained today (Apr. 7) that this has not helped them because the entry barriers and cost to their province are higher than Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Koh Samui, Matichon newspaper said.
Mr. Siwat Suwanwong, president of Songkhla Hotels Association and Buri Sriphu Hotel manager, said around 40 percent of the daily influx of 300 to 350 people across the border are Thai with Malaysian tourists not making bookings for Songkran festival because of lack of promotional activities in his province.
Hotels in this province currently are registering 15 percent bookings with all being by Thais, he mentioned.
Malaysian tourists are not coming to Songkhla because of the many steps they had to go through to do so, he said, pointing out that the cost of the RT-PCR test is 3,000 baht per person and a room and insurance for one night is 1,000 baht.
He urged the authorities to cut the red tape and reduce these fees.
He added that the situation is worsened by a jump in land and building taxes with the hike being from 10 baht per year to 100 baht. While it is understandable that this had to be done because state revenue had dropped, he mentioned that it should be gradually raised.
Mr. Somchat Pimthanaphunporn, manager of Sakura Budget Hotel in Hat Yai city, said since the reopening of the Sadao checkpoint about 10 percent of the people crossing over are Malaysian tourists because they find it inconvenient coming to this province preferring to go to Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and Koh Samui instead because of lower entry cost and procedures.
These procedures and entry costs should be cancelled as soon as possible before the tourism business collapses completely, he warned.
“Many hotels are facing liquidity problems as their business has been shut for almost two years. Seven hotels are up for sale because the owners can’t shoulder the cost anymore. However there are no buyers even at a cheap price, 30-40 percent below the property’s value.
“Some hoteliers are negotiating with financial institutions to take over their property and then rent it back to them for three to four years after which if business improves they would ask to buy it back,” he added.
Top: A Songkhla promotional hoarding. Photo: Matichon
Home Page: A bird’s eye view of Songkhla city. Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand