Survey: Thai travel demand surges

Survey: Thai travel demand surges

Pandemic fears subside, but a creaky economy still has potential tourists concerned

A large number of tourists are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport on June 5, 2022.
A large number of tourists are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport on June 5, 2022.

Thais are eager to travel again, leading budget travel to grow 18% year-on-year despite concerns over the economy, according to Europ Assistance's tourism survey.

There is real excitement for travel among Thais after Covid-related fears subsided drastically, said Marie Duchesne-Ferchal, head of products and marketing at Europ Assistance, which is part of the Generali Group and offers travel assistance, insurance and personal assistance services.

The "2022 Holiday Barometer" report found 69% of Thai holidaymakers were planning summer trips, up 25% from 2021, while 47% will extend their stays this year.

The survey by Europ Assistance and Ipsos polled 15,000 respondents from 15 countries, including 1,000 Thais, between April 26-May 16.

Economic conditions remain the most critical concern for travellers, but 66% of Thai respondents said they would keep their travel budgets intact or slightly cut their budget.

"Despite inflation and soaring commodity prices, Thais are showing an eagerness to travel after being stuck in the country for two years," Mrs Duchesne-Ferchal said.

As a result, Thai tourists' average summer holiday budget stands at 62,800 baht, 18% growth from last year, she said.

Some 56% of Thai tourists plan to take outbound trips, growing by seven percentage points from 2021, particularly to Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.

Meanwhile, 18% of Thai respondents are still looking forward to domestic trips, up by 5% year-on-year.

Thais who do not plan to travel this year said they want to save money, cannot afford to spend on leisure travel, or are uneasy about the pandemic.

Mrs Duchesne-Ferchal said the pandemic has also affected travellers' willingness to pay for insurance, as tourists increasingly appreciated its necessity.

A total of 63% of Thais purchased insurance for their last trips, while 71% said they would most likely buy insurance for their future travel.

Another emerging trend from the survey is the "workation", as 70% plan to work while travelling this summer.

She said although more countries have reopened to attract Thai outbound travellers, the workation trend should also support domestic tourism as everyone can work from anywhere.

Mrs Duchesne-Ferchal said domestic tourism could be increased by using celebrity marketing to promote non-traditional or emerging destinations.

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