Thais spend big on travel

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BANGKOK, 7 September 2018 – Intended travel spend is likely to grow at a faster pace than Asian and global averages when Thais plan their next trip, according to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study.

The study examines international travel trends and behaviour of 17,500 global travellers from 27 countries around the world, while estimated intended spend on future travel.

Thais are expected to leapfrog Asian and global travellers in terms of the growth rate of overseas spend for their next trip with a 50% increase, compared to Asia Pacific counterparts (46%) and global travellers (36%). 

Suripong Tantiyanon

The average Thai traveller spends USD1,502 per trip and that is expected to increase to USD2,252 for future travel, according to survey respondents.

In the past, Asia Pacific and global travellers spent higher averages of USD1,677 and US1,793 respectively, but the growth rate is slowing with future expenditure forecast at USD2,443.

Visa Thailand country manager, Suripong Tantiyanon said: “From our conversation with different players in the tourism industry, an increase in intended spend among Thai travellers can be attributed to the fact that there are more financial products today than ever before.  They are more sophisticated and better suited to travellers’ needs, with added benefits and privileges.  As a result, Thai travellers are more confident and willing to spend more.”

The study also uncovered that the use of payment cards is prevalent especially during the pre-trip stage. Three in four (76%) of Thai travellers reportedly prefer and use payment cards for pre-trip expenditures, such as flight and hotel reservations, compared to cash at 52%.  Respondents cited their preference towards payment cards are due to promotion, lower transaction fees, better rewards for international usage and higher security.

Despite the fact that all Thai travellers at some point use cash during their trip, credit cards are also heavily featured at 67%.  A quarter of Thai travellers use a different card to their usual one when travelling overseas, basing their decision on transaction speed, wider acceptability at international retailers, lower fees and better rewards.  Additionally, 26% of Thai travellers would have spent more with wider card acceptance.

Interestingly, the use of the digital wallet is fast emerging, with a quarter of Thai travellers having used it at their destination. Solo and Bleisure (blend between business and leisure) travellers are the heavier users of digital wallets at 41%.

“It is exciting to see travellers willing to spend and venture overseas more and we believe that the payment industry continues to have an important role to play.  That is why it is important they are not limited to just a few fund sources or a few ways to have their payments accepted. Travellers’ needs and behavour are inherently diverse therefore driving adoption and use of payment form factors, including mobile application, QR code or plastic cards, which will be key to sustaining the growth of the industry in the long run,” concluded Suripong.

The data is based on 500 interviews in each of the 27 markets except India, China, Australia and New Zealand, where 1000 interviews were conducted.

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