Positive factors boost Thais visiting S'pore

Excellent connectivity and new iconic attractions are key factors boosting the number of Thai visitors to Singapore, according to the latest market research conducted by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The national tourism organisation recently revealed the results of marketing-insight research specific to Thailand, showing that the Kingdom contributed 3.2 per cent of the number of visitors to Singapore and was the ninth-largest market in terms of arrivals last year.

The number of Thais visiting the island-state increased by 4.9 per cent from 2010 to 2013.

Last year, 497,000 Thais travelled to Singapore, while airlines operated a total of 270 flights a week between the countries, providing a seating capacity of 56,000.

A representative of the STB said the increasing number of visitor arrivals from Thailand could be attributed to the strong air-transportation connectivity between the two countries as well as the opening of new attractions in Singapore, such as Universal Studios and Gardens by the Bay.

The agency's study also found that the top considerations when Thais travel were the availability of iconic attractions, as well as their travel budget.

One key point to highlight is that Thai travellers do not necessarily seek cheap travel options, but value-for-money experiences, said the representative.

While Singapore is a destination that Thai visitors perceive as easy to plan and travel to, there are some who still perceive Singapore as a destination that has many restrictions, and their knowledge of the country's offerings also tends to be outdated, the research found.

The STB is being urged to create - and effectively communicate to Thai visitors - compelling and unique experiences that will continue to attract them to Singapore, said the representative.

Some 44 per cent of Thai visitors are business travellers who like to return to Singapore for a holiday.

With a population of about 67 million, Thailand is the world's 20th most populous nation.

Thais continued to show a "moderate" propensity to international travel with more than 5.9 million trips made last year, translating to a compound annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent between 2010 and 2013, the STB study found.

Foreign travel by Thais remained mainly within Asia, with the top five destinations - Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, China and Hong Kong - receiving more than two-thirds of outbound visitors.

In a recent MasterCard study, it was noted that amongst Thais, Tokyo received the highest number of mentions in terms of aspirational destinations, at almost 20 per cent.

Seoul came next, at 9.3 per cent, followed by Paris, at 8.1 per cent.

Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia that did not select Paris as its No-1 aspirational destination.