Keeping tourists coming back

Keeping tourists coming back

Global travellers rate Thailand fourth best post-pandemic destination, says Visa study

Tourists explore the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok during a tour on Sunday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Tourists explore the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok during a tour on Sunday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Thai businesses need to prepare for an influx of travellers as borders reopen, with the country rated the fourth most attractive destination in the world, according to the latest Global Travel Intentions study by Visa, the multinational payments company.

Thailand remains one of most desirable destinations behind only the United States, the United Kingdom and India. The top Thai cities that global travellers are looking up online include Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin, the study found.

"It's encouraging to see Thailand remains one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world," said Serene Gay, Visa Group country manager for Southeast Asia.

"As borders reopen and international travel gradually resumes, it's important that travel-related businesses are ready to accommodate tourists and their new post-pandemic preferences, including the ability to make safe, contactless digital payments," she added. "This will be key in creating business momentum and allowing businesses to thrive in the future."

According to the study, the top three motivations for global travellers intending to visit Thailand are leisure pursuits (30%), the chance to escape and relax (25%), and outdoor adventure (18%). This demonstrates that visitors are looking for stress-free holidays that provide optimum opportunities to relax, get outdoors and leave the worries of the pandemic behind.

The study found that, when in Thailand, tourists are most likely to head for activities and attractions that have made the country famous. The top activity preferences are going for a famous Thai massage, eating Thai food at cafes and restaurants, spending time at their resort, and embracing Thai culture, such as visiting a Buddhist temple.

Thailand's tourism industry is showing signs of recovery, with increasing visitor numbers over the next three years expected to reach 46.96 million by the end of 2024, according to a study by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata). That is 7 million more than the record set in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic began.

The ongoing relaxation of tourist entry requirements throughout the year should make it easier for tourists to return to Thailand, said Ms Gay.

"We hope these insights help tourism operators and all businesses in Thailand prepare for the return-to-travel phase," she said. "Visa continues to support tourism authorities, cities and operators by providing digital payment solutions and valuable insights that help to unlock new opportunities.

"We hope our collaborative efforts will accelerate Thailand's recovery and enable the country to recapture its full potential."

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