BANGKOK, 24 January 2017: Thai Travel Agents Association estimates Thais making trips overseas could reach a record 7 million by the end of the year.
TTAA president, Suparerk Soorangura, said the outbound market would grow substantially this year.
“It could reach 7 million by this year…the growth rate is around 6% to 7%,” he said.
“There are many factors encouraging Thais to travel overseas such as a competitive pricing …Thai travellers have more choices, but they mostly opt for cheap travel…a package tour that costs THB30,000 or less to China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan using low-cost airlines.”
Thailand’s outbound travel market lags behind Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Thais are generally reluctant to spend on an overseas holiday, but as more low-cost airlines operate out of Thailand, an overseas holiday is around the same price as a vacation in Phuket or Samui.
They can boast to their friends about their overseas travel experience, but the major impediment is the lack of foreign language skills, considerably lacking when compared to Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“A new generation of Thai travellers prefer to travel by themselves rather than in a tour group… they are more comfortable sourcing travel without a travel agency, but there is still room to grow business by organising incentives for companies.”
Last year, Thais made an estimated 6.9 million trips, the president said adding that around 5.9 million travelled in Asia and just 1 million travelled beyond the region.
“Travel within the region is trendy …it keeps travel costs down, trips are shorter, and food and culture are similar.”
He said: “Malaysia has a strategy to attract more Thai travellers to the country…Thais also visit Laos and Myanmar.”
The president added that Japan was the favourite destination in 2016.
“The country attracted 1 million Thai travellers in 2016… and the number is expected to grow this year due to visa exemption and low-cost airline services.”