BANGKOK, 28 May 2020: Domestic tourism across central Thailand’s provinces resumes driven by Bangkok’s residents who jump in their cars for day and weekend outings.
With an estimated population base of 15 million, the capital’s residents are now literally driving domestic tourism as they avoid airline travel and opt for trips closer to home.
Ballpark estimates from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports put the annual domestic trips at 59 million with a daily spend of around half of that generated by tourists from China and North Asia.
New research from hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications highlights the top eight intra-provincial destinations within a six-hour drive from Bangkok. They are in order of visitor turnover – Nakhon Ratchasima, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Petchaburi, Rayong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Saraburi.
While reopening Thailand to international tourism has been delayed by due to an international flight ban, the travel industry is now left with just the domestic market to earn revenue to keep operations opens.
Following an informal polling process this week in Bangkok amongst a cross-section of residents, C9’s managing director Bill Barnett said “there was an overwhelming sentiment that initial driving trips outside of the city to inter-provincial destinations was preferred, given the present uncertainty over quarantine processes when flying. We expect Thailand’s reopening storyline for the remainder of 2020 to be a highly domesticated one. “
As for what provincial destinations were most mentioned in the poll, Delivering Asia Communications David Johnson concluded “the top picks for Bangkokians were Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Khao Yai.
Surprisingly, Chang Island drew considerable attention and many Thai’s expressed desire to drive further than six hours to Chiang Mai, Nan and even go overland to Phuket.”
For now, as the airspace above Thailand is relatively empty as Bangkok residents prefer to tour by car.