The Governor for Thailand’s Phuket province which obviously includes the famous holiday island of Phuket has ordered all licensed hotels closed from tomorrow, Saturday April 4th 2020.
This order will prove to be a challenge for hotel operators and guests alike especially as movement will be restricted and the airport closed from April 10th onward.
According to Richard Barrow’s Twitter feed the decree was signed today and is valid effective tomorrow.
The site Richard linked in his feed – C9 Hotelworks – has elaborated a bit on this order.
All licensed hotels in Phuket province have been ordered closed by the Governor’s office effective Saturday 4th April.
Those hotels that still are open and have guests are not allowed to accept new guests.
For those with guests, they must report to the district offices. Once there are no guests, hotels must close.
Only hotels that are being used by the government as hospitals or for observation of those with COVID-19 syndromes can be open at this time.
Yesterday, in an independent survey of members of the Phuket Hotels Association 10% of properties were closed. While when asked if they were planning to close temporarily nearly 48% said yes.
How is that going to look like?
At this point one can only guess. There are still some repatriation flights leaving Phuket to various countries, at least one more Condor flight is scheduled to leave for Germany next Monday. No doubt there will be some form of exodus of tourists however not all are going to leave either because at this point they don’t want to leave or haven’t been able to find flights out of Phuket that fit their needs and budget.
As far as hotel operations are concerned it’s clear that many properties are having extremely low occupancy and in some cases even consolidate their guests in one property if the owner is the same which is very common in Thailand. This already happened to various Marriott properties in Bangkok which have all been consolidated to the Athenee Luxury Collection.
With hotels not being able to accept any new guests this will also cause a dilemma for those whose reservation will run out or those who were planning to change the property for one reason or the other. Where are these guests supposed to go now?
I wouldn’t be surprised if once again there are no solutions in place for the issues that arise from this decree. I’m not 100% convinced that Phuket or any Thai island is a good place to be at this moment. It could be worth a consideration if those travelers in isolated provinces would make their way towards Bangkok where life still follows a somewhat normal pace apart from many businesses being closed. At least hotels are able to take in guests at this point. In any case people should get advise from their embassy first and then decide what’s best.
There are still a fair amount of tourists in Thailand, both long term and short term visitors. We’re just in the shoulder season now for South East Asia especially for those who spend the winter months in the region and return to Europe or North America during the summer. The whole Coronavirus situation has scrambled that schedule which not only causes problems with peoples visas but also the inventory management for hotels.