we can all be proud of.”
Dear shareholders and stakeholders,
The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most disruptive on record. Like many other hospitality companies around the globe, our company found itself facing unprecedented challenges in dealing with the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak which brought travel to a halt and business to a crawl worldwide.
In fact, with international lockdowns in place to prevent the spread of the virus, the travel and tourism industry was among the hardest hit. Temporary hotel closures, strict stay-in-place guidelines, and domestic and international quarantine programmes directly impacted revenue per available room (RevPAR) and saw our top and bottom lines plummet.
International arrivals declined by 75% in 2020, translating into a loss of international tourist receipts valued at USD 1.1 trillion. The economic loss in terms of World GDP was USD 2 trillion.
In Thailand, where foreign tourists account for approximately 75% of the total industry, and where tourism represents around 20% of GDP, the situation was especially difficult.
We saw tourist arrivals to the kingdom drop from 39.8 million in 2019 to a mere 6.7 million in 2020 – a YoY decrease of 83%. Domestic travel also dropped, plunging from 130 million trips in 2019 to 75 million in 2020 (down 42% YoY). As a result, total revenue from tourism in Thailand fell from THB 3 trillion in 2019 to THB 0.7 million in 2020 – down by 77% YoY.
While international travel restrictions were eased for specific groups from August to September, and Special Tourist Visas were made available for long-stay visits since October, the re-emergence of the virus in Thailand and potential source markets significantly limited the reach of such programmes, rendering their results negligible.
“As we embark on our journey to recovery under the new normal, innovation will remain high on Dusit’s agenda.”
Protracted temporary closures of our international properties, and subsequent cancellations from business and leisure travellers, further impacted our top and bottom lines throughout the year. Compounding our challenges was the fact that practically every area of our business was affected by the pandemic.
Despite these significant challenges, Dusit International rose to the occasion by quickly introducing new strategies and business models to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and build a resilient future for our company.
The board of Directors and I were particularly pleased to oversee the introduction of policies and procedures designed to position the company as an industry role model for sustainability in all aspects – social, economic, and environment. Throughout the year, this translated into highly tangible actions which not only demonstrated the overflowing hearts and fighting spirit of our teams, but also brought enduring value to our broader communities. The stories of human caring, practical help, and business agility that emerged from these actions inspired hope among our industry, helping to pave the way for a better future for us all.
There’s no doubt that life under the shadow of COVID-19 has dramatically altered mindsets and purchasing patterns worldwide. The shift from buying things to buying experiences has accelerated, and safety, wellness, sustainability, and flexibility have all become dominant consumer preferences.
With this in mind, the Board of Directors and I were also happy to approve the introduction of new operating principles specially crafted to address these issues, and ultimately position all of Dusit’s business units for maximum value creation in the new normal.
That Dusit already has the foundations in place to cater to the shifting market trends of the post-pandemic world is testament to the foresight and agility of our global teams. It also speaks volumes of Dusit’s group-wide commitment to becoming an increasingly nimble company with the capacity to quickly iterate new ideas to the benefit of all stakeholders – even in times of adversity.
As we embark on our journey to recovery under the new normal, innovation will remain high on Dusit’s agenda. And the Board of Directors and I will continue to make every effort to ensure the company is always positioned to deliver the value that guests, customers, owners, associates, and all other stakeholders deserve.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I sincerely thank you all for your support. We greatly appreciate it.