Thailand’s ‘Retail Queen’ Speaks Out On Thai Tourism

Mall Group Chairwoman Supaluck Umpujh, dubbed Thailand’s ‘retail queen’ spoke out her opinion about the way Thai tourism, saying that the destination is selling itself short, and isn’t being bold or thinking ahead in order to build new tourist attractions, more than just the usual 4 star hotel in Bangkok or the like.

She took to the stage at the Thailand Tourism Forum 2019 in Bangkok, saying that, despite the country attracting millions of arrivals; with a 40 million forecast for 2019, the revenue isn’t really much. She says that Thailand’s entertainment is associated with its massage parlours and seedy streets  rather than world-class facilities, and added that the curfews that force venues to be closed by midnight are making other countries in the region more appealing to travellers from Europe.

She says that this is why she’s partnering with the Los-Angeles-based AEG, one of the leading sports and live entertainment companies in the world, in order to build a new retail and entertainment district, EmLive at the EmSphere, as well as The Bangkok Arena at the Bangkok Mall, both for hosting large-scale events. The former can hold about 6,000 people, the latter around 16,000.

Construction on both projects has already started and these new venues are expected to open by the last quarter of 2022.

The feisty chairwoman and Thai business icon, lived through the 1997 financial crisis  and the 2014 military coup, both of which affected business across the country, including many 4 star hotel in Bangkok, but didn’t hamper her much. The intention behind her words was to discuss how retail, entertainment, and hospitality could work together to create better tourism experiences.

The fact that revenue that comes into Thailand, Umpujh says, is common knowledge in the Thai tourism industry, but is spoken of in hushes whispers, which is not helping.

She says that the Thai government has to understand that they need to give incentives to support investors into the country, because, if Thailand doesn’t add new attractions or find ways to get people to stay in the country longer and spending more, someone will take Thailand’s spot as one of the hottest destinations in the world.