Hotels near Ratchaprasong offer free rooms to kin of victims

TWO DOZEN hotels in Bangkok have stepped up to help relatives of people killed or injured by the Erawan Shrine bomb on Monday by offering them a free room and breakfast.

Surapong Techaruvichit, president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), said the hotels offering free rooms and breakfast were THA members near Ratchaprasong intersection.

The hotels are the Asia Hotel, Dusit Thani, Pathumwan Princess, the Aetas Lumpini, the Sukosol, Grand Hyatt Erawan, Zenith Sukhumvit, Mandarin Hotel, Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, the Twin Towers, SC Park, Grand Diamond Suites, Anantara Bangkok Sathorn, Montien Hotel, Anantara Baan Rajprasong, Arnoma Grand Bangkok, Prince Palace, Metropolitan by COMO, Malaysia Hotel, Centre Point Pratunam, Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre, Holiday Inn Bangkok, and the InterContinental Hotel.

Surapong said although the bomb had scared away some tourists, he believed they would return soon, even during the upcoming high season.

He said Thailand still planned to host the 2015 Food & Hotel Thailand (FHT) expo despite the deadly blast.

FHT is an international food and hospitality trade event, which is expected to attract more than 300 participants and over 850 brands from 21 countries or more.

The fair will be held from September 2 to 5 at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Bitec) and will feature pavilions from China, Japan and South Korea.

"This trade fair will give hotels and related industries such as food, catering, restaurant and beverage a chance to find new business opportunities, as well as exchange know-how domestically and from overseas," he said.

Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor for marketing communications at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said demand for Thai destinations as well as food and beverage was still growing rapidly and this year's fair would present new ideas that could help elevate Thailand's standards to cater for growing tourist numbers.

This year's highlights include new food-service machines and kitchen equipment from South Korea, up to 34 new global launches, 30 ASEAN launches and 70 local launches.

The AEC Culinary Challenge 2015, Concierge of the Year and AHRA ASEAN Hotel and Restaurant Association Conference 2015 would also be part of the event.

Justin Pau, general manager at Bangkok Exhibition Services, said the event would cover 30 per cent more space and would feature many more exhibitors and industry functions.

Last year, FHT attracted 26,550 visitors from 51 countries and similar numbers were expected this year, he said.