Thai agents survive off China business

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BANGKOK, 4 April 2018: Thailand’s registered travel agencies handled 870,720 Chinese tour clients, January to March 20, according to the latest data released by the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

For ATTA member companies trips from China improved 29.49%, while another important supply market, India, topped 55,681 trips improving 18.24% and Korea with 72,546 trips improved by 8.75%.

For the period 1 January to 20 March ATTA agents handled 1,466,022 tour clients, up 16.38% year-on-year, based on meet-and-greet fees ATTA pays to Bangkok’s two airports to facilitate a welcome service.

In January they handled 542,326 clients at the two airports, 539,269 in February and 384,427 for the first 20 days of March.

No matter how ATTA looks at the figures, from a country or regional perspective, China dominates the inbound tour business commanding a market share of 59.39%.

Once that market is taken out of the mix, market shares are mere slivers; 4.95% for Japan, 3.76% for Korea, 3.74% for India and 3.79% for Russia and CIS countries.

It should be a source of concern for ATTA members as their future business prosperity is tied and knotted to China.

If the market shrinks considerably due to political or economic conditions, Thailand’s inbound tour business would be hit by massive financial failures.

The continued dominance of China would suggest ATTA members need to urgently shift their attention to other markets such as India that has vast potential.

Europe with a market share of 6.31% for agency driven bookings is well below par and has been shrinking mainly due to a switch to direct bookings online.