Thais set to double their holiday spending, says Visa

Thais set to double their holiday spending, says Visa
PHOTO: Reuters

Thai tourists will lavish Bt83,000 (S$3,300) on an overseas trip in two years, nearly double the Bt44,000 outlay two years ago, according to Visa.

More Thais travelled overseas for leisure and intended to spend more money while on holidays, Visa's online Global Travel Intention Study found.

Somboon Krobteeranon, manager for Thailand, said yesterday that the average spending of Thai tourists in the last two years was lower than the global rate of Bt75,000. In Southeast Asia, Singaporeans forked out Bt54,000 for each trip while Malaysians splashed out Bt38,000.

Thais typically embark on shorter trips, as manifested by their top five destinations in the past two years - Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The average trip is six nights and takes five hours of journey time. Almost half of them travelling with tour companies prefer to travel with a group of friends and colleagues rather than with their partners and spouses.

Globally, 58 per cent travel as a couple, while over one-third of Thais do the same.

Thais are more inclined to find travel deals that reflect their budgets compared to global travellers. Thais use credit cards more at their destinations.

Since the last study in 2013, more Thais brought along cards on their trips, with 98 per cent carrying at least one payment card, higher than the global rate of 92 per cent and 95 per cent for Asia-Pacific.

About 91 per cent of independent Thai tourists book their trips online, while at destinations, 68 per cent use credit cards for payment, higher than the global average.

Thai tourists spend the most for shopping, dining and accommodation. Credit cards are used to purchase luxury brand products and to dine at high-end restaurants.

Habits are apparently different between generations - millennials (18-35 years old), mature professionals (36-44) and superboomers or babyboomers (over 45).

Superboomers would increase spending the most, by 92 per cent, compared to other groups. Millennial tourists are expected to show the smallest jump in spending with just a 15-per-cent increase.

Of the 56 million-57 million cards in Thailand, Visa accounts for more than 40 million. Thailand has the biggest Visa cardholding population in Southeast Asia.

The multiple crises this year - air safety problem, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreaks in the Middle East and South Korea, and economic slowdowns in Thailand, Europe and China - have not yet brought down Thai tourism as the country is now in the low season. The hospitality industry is expected to rebound and become crowded with tourists in the October-January high season.

The study was conducted in January and February on 13,603 travellers in 25 markets including Thailand.

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