Bangkok popular but off-limits

BANGKOK, 25 June 2020: Search data collected from Booking.com reveals that Bangkok ranked among the top 10 most searched destinations in 14 countries and territories across the world, despite Thailand being closed to leisure travel.

The Thai capital also ranked top as the most searched international destination by people resident in five countries and territories: USA, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Hat Yai were also listed within the top 10 most searched international destinations. However, searching booking sites and reading up on Thailand’s destinations is as far as it goes. Thailand’s doors are closed to leisure travel although government officials talk about setting up quarantine-free travel between Thailand and other low-risk countries. There are no examples of successful travel bubbles in Asia.  At best, the travel industry is bracing for a long period when only 1,000 travellers a day will gain entry. They will be mainly business travellers, returning expatriate residents, medical tourists and a few wealthy visitors who seek isolation at expensive resorts. That’s how public health officials see tourism panning out over the remainder of the year or until there is a vaccine available or fast, cheap and accurate Covid-19 testing at airports.

That leaves Bangkok and the rest of the country relying almost exclusively on the domestic travel market; strong for resort towns near Bangkok, but largely absent as a solution for the Thai capital that relies almost entirely on foreign business and leisure travellers.

Domestic travel looks to be on a rise as Thailand remains the most searched destination for Thai travellers.

Regions with Bangkok as their top 10 most searched international destinations*

No. Country / Territory Ranking of Bangkok
1 United States 1
2 Taiwan 1
3 Vietnam 1
4 Malaysia 1
5 Hong Kong 1
6 Indonesia 2
7 Singapore 4
8 Philippines 4
9 China 4
10 South Korea 5
11 Australia 5
12 Japan 6
13 India 7
14 New Zealand 9

In addition to Bangkok, three other destinations in Thailand are also listed within the top 10 most searched international destinations for international travellers. Among Malaysian travellers, searches for Pattaya and Hat Yai ranked third and seventh respectively. Meanwhile, Taiwanese travellers searched for Chiang Mai quite often, ranking it as their 10th top international destination.

Booking.com also revealed the top 10 most searched destinations among Thai users. All of them are currently off-limits as the Civil Aviation of Thailand has banned all commercial international flights to and from Thailand. CAAT has not confirmed the status of the ban after 30 June when the current ruling expires. However, on the sidelines of other discussions, CAAT officials suggested the ban could remain until September.

Top 10 most searched countries and territories for Thais*

1 Thailand
2 Italy
3 France
4 Germany
5 Spain
6 Russia
7 United Kingdom
8 United States
9 Japan
10 Taiwan

1 COMMENT

  1. It would be more interesting to know how parasitic websites like Booking.com, TA and Agoda are managing to survive, after sucking so much cash out of the tourist industry before the Pandemic even started

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here