BANGKOK, 27 March 2017: Thai travellers turn to social media to research and share their travel experiences, while solo travel is growing starting with road trip adventures, according to Booking.com recent research.
Released last week, the study interviewed 500 Thais, during 11 to 30 January, this year, to explore the travel intentions of Thai travellers. It concluded social media was the driver that inspired first-time travel experiences in 2017.
The finding showed that 62% of Thai respondents are planning to travel solo for the first time this year. This contrasts with the traditional view that Thais prefer group and family travel mainly to deal with perceived deficiencies in foreign language skills
But the study showed that planning their first solo trip made Thais feel free (41%). Among 68% of Thais who have been on a solo trip, their first one was a road trip (19%), followed closely by a city break (16%).
Whilst travelling solo for the first time could be a scary prospect, 79% felt it was worthwhile as they saw new places, not offered by tour companies and 55% believed it helped them overcome hesitancy and they would engage in solo travel more in the future.
The top 10 most popular destinations for Thai travellers are: Siem Reap, Cambodia; Seoul, South Korea; Kyoto, Japan; Hong Kong; Singapore; Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China; Jeju, South Korea; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Osaka, Japan.
The research added that social media played an important role in deciding where to go to create first-time travel experience, especially with 18 to 34 year olds. In fact, 49% of millennials said that they used social media posts to help them remember their first-time travel experiences.
Millennials were the most affected emotionally by what they saw on social media with almost 45% of 18 to 34 year olds confirmed that social media feed helped them engage with the described travel experience positively, but 44% admitted that it also made them feel they were missing out on new travel experiences.
Almost half 46% said they felt jealous of the travel experiences they saw on social media feeds, while 34% said they travel more so they can post new pictures on their social media.
The research revealed how first-time travel ignites the travel bug for Thais with 60% confirming their first-time travel experiences inspire them to try a new or different type of travel experience or accommodation the next time they travel.
47% are planning to be more adventurous in their travel plans in 2017 with 67% resolving to travel further away from home.
The types of first time experiences people want to try in 2017 is also broadening beyond the traditional beach holidays or city explorations, with road trips proving to be a popular choice for 2017 (44%), followed by eco tours (39%), spiritual adventures (23%) and volunteer based trips (21%).*
*According to data collected by Booking.com with 12,781 respondents across 13 markets in September 2016. Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2016 and had to be planning at least one trip for 2017. All respondents had to consider themselves part of their travel decision-making process.