Prakit Chinamourphong, recently reappointed as president of the Thai Hotels Association for another term, sees a growing need for private operators to seek new markets and promote domestic travel.

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New markets, domestic travel to help hoteliers

Although hotels in some main destinations, including Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi, are actually maintaining high occupancy despite the unrest, Prakit said new bookings for the Songkran festival were down from this time last year, because tourists feared more violence.

Although private investment has joined the rebound in Thai economy, the outlook remains weak relative to other demand

The medium-term outlook is sobering, with growth expected at 3.5 percent in 2010 and likely remaining below potential for the next three years. Because the Thai economy is largely dependent on final demand in advanced economies, a return to pre-crisis rates of economic growth (a full recovery vs. a rebound to pre-crisis levels) will require a combination of (a recovery of demand from advanced economies and a rebalancing of the sources of growth to reduce Thailand’s dependence on demand from advanced economies. Neither process is likely to be swift. Recovery from a financial crisis is a lengthy process that involves the rebuilding of balance sheets, and the IMF estimates that half of the losses in the financial system in advanced economies are yet to be recognized.

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