Package tours from Taiwan spike
Demand returns quickly once several Asian markets are reopened
Pent-up demand from Taiwan has accelerated the growth of Thai tourism the last two months as tour package sales from a travel fair exceeded expectations, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Thanet Phetsuwan, TAT's deputy governor of marketing for Asia and South Pacific, said the agency last week joined the Taipei International Travel Fair 2022 and partnered with eight major tour operators to sell tour packages to Thailand.
Taiwan reopened to foreign tourism without restrictions on Oct 13, helping to rebuild demand since then.
Mr Thanet said the number of packages sold during this event totalled 3,803, exceeding the target of 2,000 packages generating 100 million baht.
Bangkok was the preferred destination, followed by Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and Samui, with package prices of NT$20,000 to NT$89,500, around 24,000-107,400 baht.
He said the TAT's attendance represented an opportunity to create exposure as there were roughly 150,000 visitors who sought outbound trips at this fair after pandemic curbs were lifted last month.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen joined the opening ceremony for the Thai pavilion, which this year used "Tai Guo Wo Lai Le" (Thailand, I've been there) as a campaign to revive this market.
The promotion gained media exposure and created awareness with an audience of 6.48 million during the four-day event, said Mr Thanet.
He said Taiwan is one of the markets with potential in Northeast Asia, tallying 781,000 tourists visiting Thailand in 2019, generating 33.5 billion baht.
With only two months left to promote this market, TAT expects to welcome 65,000 tourists from Taiwan this year.
In addition to direct flights from Bangkok, Thailand can promote more destinations in the North to Taiwanese visitors as airlines have started reconnecting Taipei and Chiang Mai, including Thai AirAsia and EVA Air.
China Airlines is scheduled to commence its service on Jan 20, 2023.
Mr Thanet said demand from favoured markets such as Japan has picked up following the full reopening of the country in October, as more airlines resume direct flights to capture growing demand from both Japanese and Thai travellers.
Thai Airways plans to increase flights to Sapporo in December after retrieving its slots in Fukuoka and Nagoya.
Chuwit Sirivajjakul, executive director for East Asia at the TAT, said the problem of insufficient seats should subside by January as more seats are added and prices gradually recede.
With surging airfares, most Japanese travellers are tending to stay longer, roughly 9-10 days, to make their trips worth the higher outlay, said Mr Chuwit.