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Bangkok Observation Tower Foundation

Hotels boom in “megacity” Bangkok

“Move over New York and London. Bangkok will soon join Shanghai and Beijing as a megacity.”

The Thai capital is on the cusp of becoming a world-class megacity, opening up vast opportunities for the travel and tourism, experts said at the recent Thailand Tourism Forum 2018.

With the rapid expansion of metro lines, mega projects breaking ground and a number of high-profile hotels in the development pipeline in Bangkok, “the great promise of the East has now become the new West,” Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, tells TTG Asia.

“Move over New York, move over London. Bangkok will soon join Shanghai and Beijing as a megacity.”

Massive infrastructure projects like the expansion of the city’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, the pan-ASEAN East Economic Corridor and high-speed trains linking the capital to Rayong, among others, are adding to the development.

For Bangkok, which accounts for half of the tourism receipts into Thailand, “infrastructure is first and foremost a step to success,” said Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, director of Horwath HTL, on its way to joining metropolises like Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Hotel performance
Such expectations are further backed by the city’s surging inbound visitor numbers as well as a robust hotel performance in recent years.

Bangkok’s hotels reached an ADR of 3,400 baht (€87), occupancy levels of 79% and RevPar growth of 4.6%, with records broken for 10 out of the last 12 months.

“If the stability of the city in the last two or three years – which is already unusual – can be sustained, this will supercharge Bangkok,” commented Jesper Palmqvist, STR Global’s area director for Asia-Pacific.

Luxury hospitality brands like Four Seasons and Capella have recently announced hotel projects along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, which together with upcoming megaprojects such as the 50 billion baht Icon Siam by local retail developer Siam Piwat, are expected to drive the riverfront as a major growth area in the coming years. A gigantic new observation tower is also planned.

However, a number of factors could yet harm the development, like the city’s overstrained airports and Thailand’s looming elections in late 2018.

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