Visa predicts big jump in spending by Thai travelers


Thais traveling abroad will register the biggest average rise in spending per person compared to travelers from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the results of a survey by Visa, the global credit card company headquartered in the United States.

The Visa survey forecast that Thais on average will spend 50 percent more on their next trip, compared with a 46 percent average increase by other travelers from Asia-Pacific countries and a 36 percent average increase among travelers from countries around the world.

The Visa survey covered 17,500 travelers from 27 countries.

Visa found Thai travelers would be spending more not because their incomes are increasing, but as a result of more and better payment options.

“From our conversation with different players in the tourism industry, the increase in intended spending for Thai travelers can be attributed to there being more financial products than ever before,” said Suripong Tantiyanon, the Thailand country manager for Visa.

One of the new products Thais have been taking advantage of is the digital wallet. As many as 41 percent of Thai solo and business travelers have begun using digital wallets at their destinations, Visa found.

“The products are more sophisticated and better suited to travelers’ needs, with added benefits and privileges. As a result, Thai travelers are more confident and willing to spend more,” Suripong said.

“Travelers’ needs and behaviors are inherently diverse, driving adoption and usage of payment form factors, including mobile applications, QR codes or plastic cards, which will be key to sustaining the long run,’’ he added.

Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with Bangkok regularly finishing high in the standings for the world’s most visited cities in recent years. More than 35 million tourists visited Thailand in 2017, and the number is expected to increase this year.

Thais are also increasingly becoming overseas tourists with more than 10 million Thais forecast to travel abroad this year, more than double the number from seven years ago, according to a market research study.

That study by the Travel Impact Newswire cited the easing of visa requirements by key receiving countries, particularly Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Russia as the reason more Thais have taken to travel.