Outbound Thai tourism forecast to boom this year

If you can’t visit Thailand, don’t be surprised if Thais start visiting your land. Thais are increasingly becoming outbound tourists to foreign countries, with at least 10 million Thais expected to travel overseas this year, according to a research report released last week that labeled Thai tourists “the next bing thing” in Asia-Pacific tourism.

The numbers of Thai tourists venturing beyond the Kingdom has shown robust growth during the past several years, according to the Thailand Outbound Travel Report 2018 published by Travel Impact Newswire, a travel industry publication group. The report said that the 8.2 million Thais who traveled overseas in 2016 was more than double the number in 2011, demonstrating the market segment’s strong potential.

Aside from rising incomes among Thais and a willingness to spend their earnings, ease of accessibility has been a major factor in driving the growth of outbound Thai tourism. The elimination of the need for Thais to apply for visas in advance has fueled an increase in Thai tourists to several destinations, particularly Japan.

Japan has been the fastest growing destination among Thais. Japan’s National Tourism Organization said it expects the number of Thai tourists to Land of the Rising Sun will exceed 1 million for the first time this year, which would represent a double-digit increase. An increase in the number of flights between the two nations is another reason tourist traffic between the two countries is surging.

Thais now rank sixth among nationalities visiting Japan, behind China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States.

Thai tourism to Korea, Taiwan and Russia is also on the rise. All of them have also been courting the Thai market, devising promotional and marketing campaigns to draw more Thai visitors.

The report criticized several countries for their stringent, and what it sees as unfair, visa application processes for Thai citizens. Countries in Europe and North America, but also Australia and New Zealand came in for criticism.
“The requirement for proof of financial support is also questionable in an era when thousands of well-off Thais are well-armed with credit cards and far better off financially than citizens of the visa-requiring countries,” the report said. “It is not clear what security or immigration threats these visa-requiring countries are hoping to alleviate.”

Photo courtesy of www.pata.org