Covid-19 culls Thai travel firms
published : 20 Aug 2020 at 15:40
One of Thailand's leading destination management companies, Asia World Enterprise, announced [in late July] that it would cease trading 1 September.
Asia World Enterprise, established in 1997 is a member of prominent trade and travel associations such as IATA (for airline ticketing operations), the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the US Tour Operators Association and the Thailand Incentives and Convention Association.
Company managing director, Stephen McEvoy, told TTR Weekly that a "combination of factors" contributed to the decision to stop trading but the principle one was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the company's cash flow and bookings.
"Like most of our competitors that are keeping just a handful of staff there were no bookings or income over the last four months," he explained.
At least three leading travel firms in Thailand threw in the towel [around the same time] after suffering four to five months without a single tourist booking. The outlook is dire, forcing companies, considered pioneers of the tourism boom in Thailand, to seek bridging loans to shore up cash flow. Most have cut staff or reduced salaries by 50%-75%.
In a message to his staff following a company meeting, McEvoy confirmed the decision to wind down operations during August, while the company would cease trading as of 1 September. It will involve redundancies for as many as 300 people employed at the head office in Bangkok, branches in Thailand and sales offices worldwide based on the company's investor profile posted on its website.
In his remarks in the letter to staff, that was also shared with business partners, he said: "It is apparent that tourists will not return to Thailand for a long time, which could be in 2021 or 2022 but nobody is sure. We are very sad to give this news about Asia World after 23 years of operations."
The company handles around 160,000 up-market package holidays a year to Thailand and neighbouring countries mainly from Europe, North America, Asia and Russia. It has 18 offices overseas.
The closure will also impact on operations overseas such as Asia World UK; Asia World Germany, Asia World USA, Asia World Singapore and Asia World China.
Looking forward McEvoy said he intends to launch a new streamlined travel company in the future. "I still have lots of contacts in the travel industry," he concluded.
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