Thai cleaning industry to profit from tourism

7th of January 2019
Thai cleaning industry to profit from tourism

There are rapid changes taking place in Asia's professional cleaning industry and one of the countries experience greatest change is Thailand, where tourism is having an impact. ECJ reporter Bobbie van der List brings us more details.

In terms of contract cleaning, Thailand is performing above average compared to other southeast Asian countries. If GDP growth is to continue, the expectation is that demand for contract cleaning will continue to rise. New offices will be built as well as new hospitals, which will increase the necessity for professional cleaners.

In general, contract cleaning is mainly dominated by smaller companies providing cleaning services varying from long term contracts to short term cleaning. Back in 2015, Thailand was facing shortages in cleaning staff, a problem that they could overcome by looking to their neighbouring countries for cheaper labour.

What are the latest trends in the Thai professional cleaning industry? According to an Allied Market Research representative, because of the growing tourism sector in Thailand, there is a trickling down effect on the cleaning industry. "There has been significant growth in the demand for cleaning services from amusement parks and theme parks."

But that is not the only trend worth mentioning here, because there are quite exciting changes happening in other areas as well. "Prison procurement methods are also changing and E-procurement methods have been introduced in the public sector, which leads to a more competitive market, big changes are happening in the future", says the Allied Market Research spokesman.

At the same time, there is continuous concern about wages, and the general wellbeing of professional cleaners in Thailand. "Salaries vary significantly based on the type of service, commercial or residential, the service location and nature of the service, part time or full time. The salary is based on minimum wage criteria in Thailand, around €276- €220 per month, and this is even less in the case of immigrant cleaning workers," continued the spokesman.

Another aspect of Thailand's cleaning sector is the large number of foreign nationals who choose for a career in cleaning in Thailand, but it doesn't provide the stability they hope for, according to labour trade unions. They therefore want more protection for foreign cleaners.

How can the sudden increase in professionalism in Thailand be explained? Growing demand from tourism, as mentioned earlier, as well as E-procurement in the public sector have been opportunities for the industry. More private institutions have also been built and there is a growing number of airport terminals within major tourist destinations such as Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. These are the factors likely to contribute to the growing relevance of cleaning as a professional industry and a job to take pride in.

Challenges and opportunities

Yet, there are plenty of challenges the industry is facing at the moment. The cleaning services industry faces significant problems, especially when it comes to the status of the job, and the lack of interest from Thai people to work in the industry. Cleaning services are considered as an inferior job, with low salary. Hence, cleaning services companies are looking for workers in neighbuoring countries with cost competitive wages.

Meanwhile, the country's economy is growing rapidly, according to Allied Market Research. "The growth rate for Thailand is higher compared to other southeast Asian countries." China still accounts for the largest market share of the total Asia-Pacific cleaning service market. Overall, Asian countries are expected to grow around seven per cent. And Thailand is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets in this region.

There is room for optimism as well, as analyst foresee changes in the way the sector is viewed domestically due to plans to increase wages: "We expect to see growth in employment," concludes the report.


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