BANGKOK– August 2022 – From its beautiful beaches, to the vibrant capital city Bangkok, to its friendly and food obsessed locals, Thailand has always been a popular choice for holiday makers, backpackers, and party goers alike. With almost all remaining international COVID-19 travel restrictions being lifted in July, travel intent to the Southeast Asia hotspot continues to rise steadily. Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for travel, shares travel trends and insights for a promising season ahead. What will happen this quarter?
Flight and hotel searches to Thailand are on the rise globally
Thailand has received about two million foreign visitors in the first six months of this year, a steady revival after its tourism industry almost collapsed due to the pandemic and more than 18 months of complex and costly entry requirements. As of 6th August 2022 international flight and hotel searches are up 164% and 111% respectively compared to the start of the year. All global regions demonstrate positive uplift in the lead up to Thailand's high season from November. Asia-Pacific is up 74% vs the start of 2022, EMEA is up 67%, US & Canada is up 38%, the Caribbean is up 27% and Latin and Central America is up 15%. While several uncertainties remain for the travel industry, these positive numbers demonstrate Thailand is on its way to meeting its goal of expected tourism revenue of up to US$65 billion next year, up three million from the US$62 billion achieved pre-pandemic in 2019.
International and domestic demand to the Land of Smiles
Following the government classifying all of Thailand a green (relaxed) zone for COVID-19 from July, businesses, entertainment venues, and tourist attractions have eased and eliminated pandemic-related restrictions and travellers have been quick to return. Based on flight bookings from the last 60 days, the top five origin countries are Thailand (10.6%), Singapore (8.9%), Republic of Korea (6.5%), United States (5.2%) and the United Kingdom (4.4%), with India (4.2%), Australia (4.1%), Germany (3.8%), Vietnam (3.8%) and Japan (3.0%) making up the remaining top ten. With Vietnam Airlines now operating three regular direct flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Bangkok, set to rise to four flights per day from October and six flights per day in 2023, we anticipate travel intent from Vietnam to continue to rise further.
The top 10 Thai destinations include Bangkok, comprising nearly half of visits at 43.17%, Phuket with nearly a quarter at 23.50%, Surat Thani (13.27%),Chon Buri (3.70%), Chiang Rai (3.66%), Prachuap Khiri Khan (3.41%), Krabi (2.10%), Rayong (1.85%), Chiang Mai (1.68%) and Nakhon Ratchasima (1.33%). Thailand received 39.9 million visitors in 2019 when Bangkok, the capital, was named the world's most visited city. With an aim of 5 to 10million visitors this year, the recent positive uplift brings the country closer to reaching this 2022 goal.
Length of stays on the rise for Thai travel
Nearly half of travellers (47.8%) are planning their trips to Thailand between two and three months in advance, with less than 10% planning spontaneous trips less than a fortnight ahead. With tourists facing higher travel costs, particularly from inflation and airfares, which have increased by 20-40%, longer lead times may be due to travellers seeking to secure favourable rates. Based on flight searches from the last 60 days, over 60% of international travellers are planning Thai trips of eight days or more, with 35% looking at visiting for a fortnight or longer, perhaps maximising their stay in light of surging international flight costs.
Encouraging prospects for Thai travel recovery
Despite the Thai travel sector being strongly affected by the pandemic, Sojern continues to work with thousands of hotels, attractions, airlines, and destinations annually in Thailand and around the world. Powered by artificial intelligence and traveller intent data, Sojern provides multichannel marketing solutions to drive direct demand. Positioning itself as the key partner for tourism professionals who want to be supported in their ongoing recovery, the company has continued to gain market share in Thailand and the wider APAC region.
“While the road to recovery has been rocky in Thailand, our biggest market in the Asia Pacific region, Sojern’s latest figures following the lifting of travel restrictions in the country show that we’re moving in the right direction,” commented Lina Ang, Managing Director APAC, Sojern. “Thailand has always been one of APACs most popular tourist destinations, and with the majority of COVID restrictions now lifted, travel intent will only increase further as we look ahead to the high season. Leveraging our innovative digital solutions means we’ve been able to best support partners through travel recovery challenges. After a tough few years we look forward to strengthening Sojern’s operations in market and continuing to support the Thai travel industry in its rebound.”
With a presence in Thailand since 2015, Sojern’s portfolio in the country includes large hotel groups such as Banyan Tree Holdings, Accor and Hyatt, including their Hyatt Place Bangkok Sukhumvit property.
Sojern is a leading digital marketing platform built for travel marketers. Powered by artificial intelligence and traveller intent data, Sojern provides multichannel marketing solutions to drive direct demand. Thousands of hotels, attractions, tourism boards and travel marketers rely on Sojern annually to engage and convert travellers around the world.