By Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit,
In 2013, the number of Kazakh tourists visiting Thailand is projected at 60,000, up from 52,000 in 2012, and 42,000 in 2011.
Sergey Jetpyspayev, project manager at Travellab Co, a travel operator based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, said Thailand, Turkey and Dubai were the popular countries among Kazakh tourists. They also liked to go to China, but those were mainly business people.
Compared to Dubai, Thailand offered price competitiveness, being 20 to 30 per cent cheaper.
Thailand was the most favoured destination in Southeast Asia because the country is more accessible, with daily direct flights besides charter flight service during winter. There were fewer flights to countries like Malaysia and Vietnam – twice a week and once a week respectively.
Kazakhs were also interested in Cambodia and Vietnam but Thailand remained their primary destination, with a short trip to those places. Given the cold climate in their country, 80 per cent of Kazakhs like to enjoy a beach holiday in Pattaya and Phuket, while Krabi was fast emerging as a preferred destination. Some women travellers prefer spas, and also as a wedding and honeymoon destination.
Groups that visit Thailand range from students to wealthy people. Some had bought villas in Thailand to stay as well. Package tours cost $3,000 per two persons minimum and they usually stay about 2 weeks. After a 7-hour flight, they want to stay at hotels with good service.
At present, Kazakhstan has 17 million populations and 1.5 million people going out the country to travel. Jetpyspayev was in Bangkok to attend the Thailand Travel Mart 2013 Plus. As a buyer, he updated tourism products and services in Thailand with local and also regional sellers.