Thai business people travelled more in the first half of the year and the trend will continue in the second half, says the French hotel chain Accor.
During the first six months, Thai business people made nine trips (both domestic and overseas) on average, up from five during the same period last year.
Accor's survey of Thai business travellers found they were more optimistic about the business environment this year. Some 45% of respondents said they travelled more because their business grew year to year.
Business people in Asia-Pacific made 10 trips in the first half of 2012, up from six in the same period last year.
Thailand emerged as a premier business destination in the region, with travellers from Asean and beyond visiting the country in the first half.
"We found that Thai business travellers are more confident about the economic strength this year and are seizing new business opportunities both locally and abroad," said Evan Lewis, vice-president for communication at Accor Asia-Pacific.
Accor conducted the survey of 2,586 respondents from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Thailand was among the top three destinations visited in the first half by business travellers based in Malaysia (49%), Singapore (47%), Hong Kong (32%), India (26%), mainland China (20%) and Indonesia (20%).
In the second half, Thailand will remain a key business destination, especially for travellers from Malaysia (48%), Hong Kong (32%) and India (25%).
Overall, Singapore was the most popular business travel destination in the first half, followed by Hong Kong and Malaysia. For the second half, the top three destinations are Singapore (40%), Hong Kong (34%) and Japan (28%).
Connectivity is clearly important, with free Wi-Fi cited as the top influencer in booking by 60% of Thai respondents, 63% of Singaporeans, 57% of Hong Kongers and 62% of Malaysians.
Mr Lewis said Accor plans to offer free-of-charge internet at all hotels in Asia-Pacific by year-end.
The survey revealed that online booking is the preferred channel of 82% of respondents, while some still use offline travel agents or reservation centres.
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- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong