Agents see August bookings slip

BANGKOK, 11 September 2018: Thailand’s travel agents suffered a 22.12% decline in client bookings in August, but during the eight months, January to August, they were still ahead by a slim 3.29%.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents, that represents more than 1,000 inbound tour operators in Thailand, released its latest data last week for the eight months of 2018.

Data is based on the fee ATTA agents pay to the Airports of Thailand for every client they meet and greet at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.

However, ATTA does not collect data at other gateway airports such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Samui.

Based on a count of clients arriving at Bangkok’s two gateway airports, ATTA member agents handled 4,033,097 clients over the eight months up by 3.29%, on 3,904,731 clients handled in the same period in 2017.

But there was a substantial 22.12% decline this August with member companies handling 419,792 clients down from 538,997 in August 2017. It was blamed on a decline in travel from China following a fatal boat accident on Phuket island in July.

However, China remains the top performing market over the eight months supplying 2,373,971 clients, up 3.14% followed by Vietnam with 254,381 a gain of 14.20%, India 184,645 up 11.19%, Korea with 169,332 down 6.84% and Japan 122,324 representing an increase of 12.88%

During the month of August travel from China using travel agency services decreased 36.49%.ATTA’s latest data shows that during early August, travel companies handled around 9,000 Chinese tourists daily. The daily total increased to around 16,500 by mid-August and then slid dramatically to 2,744 by 31 August.

Over the eight months, Chinese tourists represented a 58.86% market share of all bookings handled by ATTA agents.  The next leaders in market share were Russian visitors at 6.31%, Japan 4.56% and Korean 4.20%.

The data for the eight months identified winners and losers for Thailand’s inbound travel firms.  Australian and New Zealand markets improved 17.63%, Europe improved 7.12%, while bookings from Russia and former CIS countries declined 18.94 and the Middle East dropped 43.48%.