Overpriced taxi services are the leading complaint among foreign tourists, along with poor garbage management and facilitation at the airport, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).
TCT's quarterly survey, which polled 200 Western tourists in Thailand during the final quarter of 2022, showed satisfaction with taxi services received the lowest score of 3.5 out of 5, with tourists indicating this is the most critical problem that should be solved immediately.
The survey of tourists in Bangkok found they were not satisfied with what they deem to be unfair treatment as taxi drivers often only take passengers who agree to pay a fare without using the meter, which means drivers can arbitrarily charge higher prices for their service.
TCT president Chamnan Srisawat said the government can help provide solutions to this problem by cooperating with private taxi firms to offer a different type of taxi service with a distinct label or sign, such as a white-coloured taxi, to guarantee the fares are based on the driver's meter.
He said if the distinct taxis became popular among tourists, they could compete with traditional taxis as tourists would only seek this service.
Another concern for tourists from Europe and the US is the entry process at the airport upon arrival, which received a score of 3.45 out of 5.
They also highlighted the problems of litter at many popular tourist sites and air pollution from hazardous PM2.5 fine particulate matter.
In response to these concerns, the TCT on Monday urged the government to increase its budget for the 10 most popular tourism provinces, stepping up natural resource preservation schemes and increasing the capacity for garbage disposal, especially on the islands.
The council suggested limiting the capacity at some popular attractions to avoid overcrowding, which could help maintain a positive perception regarding Thai tourism.
The survey found 50% of respondents had travelled to Thailand before.
Some 98% were travelling for leisure purposes, with 93% choosing Bangkok and 50% Phuket as their travel destination.
Tourists from the US spent an average of 2,000-3,000 baht on accommodation per night, with a length of stay of 14-15 days per trip. Together with other expenses, their spending in Thailand averaged 96,269 baht per person.
Meanwhile, most European tourists chose a room priced 1,000-2,000 baht per night, staying in Thailand for 12-13 days on average, with spending averaging 88,661 baht in total on their trip.