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2022: Thais will stay close to home

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BANGKOK, 3 November 2021: Visa’s latest research released Tuesday indicates Thai leisure travellers will continue to discover domestic destinations through 2022 as shorter, safer trips become the preferred mode of post-Covid travel.

The ‘Visa Voice of the Consumer’ research found that over half (51%) of Thai respondents are likely to take a leisure trip within Thailand within the next year, while just 23% plan to travel overseas. The findings are similar to forecasts by Tourism Authority of Thailand officials who told a press conference at the World Travel Market on Monday domestic travellers would represent 50% of the country’s tourism income in 2022.

The Visa study found that the top three factors that will make Thai travellers comfortable to travel again are having received a vaccination (67%), a reduction of global cases of Covid infections (55%), and having Covid insurance (41%).

Visa Thailand country manager Suripong Tantiyanon said: “It’s clear that caution remains among the public when it comes to travel, and there is a strong preference for safety and familiarity.

“Businesses in destinations across Thailand should consider these aspects when welcoming tourists back, whether they are from within Thailand or overseas, and ensure visitor safety at every level, and this includes payments. During the pandemic, contactless payment has seen significant growth due to its speed, convenience, and safety.”

Travellers throughout the Asia Pacific are also approaching their travels differently compared to pre-Covid times. Over half (53%) will take extra effort to book accommodation that is safe, and quality assured, while 44% are planning to carry more cards so they can use contactless and digital payments to avoid touching cash. Two in five (42%) of the respondents are planning to avoid crowded tourist spots.

When it comes to the top overseas travel destinations, the majority of Thai travellers are keen to visit Japan, followed by China, Australia, South Korea, Canada, and France.

When asked about their appetite for travel, nearly half (48%) said they were keen to travel within a bubble but not in the immediate future. Meanwhile, one third (33%) said they were keen to travel as soon as possible when a travel bubble is available, and the remainder said they were not interested in travel bubbles.

“Cashless is no longer a matter of convenience. In the post-Covid era, digital payments are synonymous with confidence, safety, and recovery. It will be interesting to see how digital payments can play a vital role in the recovery of domestic and international tourism as consumers take extra steps to ensure health and safety.”

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