By The Nation
With the baht strengthening from the beginning of the year to October and remaining at Bt30.53 per US dollar, many airlines in Thailand have opened multiple new international routes for this year’s fourth quarter. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for Thai hotel operators to look to expanding their international hotels, the authority said..
For the Songkran period, Thai bookings of overseas tour packages have increased from last year, Kanyanee Asanee, the vice president of Thai Tourism Services Association (TTAA), said.
Thai International Travel Fairs this past August found that the amount of money Thais spent on travel packages at the fairs increased by 90 per cent. As well, the operators of overseas tours at the fairs saw a rise in purchases from last year’s Bt200 million to Bt350 million this year, and visitors hit 250,000. Bookings remained quite active after the event all the way from New Year’s to Songkran next year. Japanese travellers showed high interest, followed by Vietnamese.
Due to market competition, low-cost airlines were stimulated to sell packages for the New Year’s to Songkran period. Packages were framed as “Earlybird” in place of the previous “Fire sale” with an accompanying reduction in booking cost.
The number of Thai people going abroad may not increase by more than 10 per cent in the coming year, however. This January to August saw approximately 8 million Thais go abroad, with expectations that it would rise to at least 10.5 million, with spending of at least Bt3.5 billion by the end of this year. For the fourth quarter of 2019, additional international routes are being opened by Thailand’s airlines, especially to Japan.
TAT’s Yuthasak Supasorn said many airlines have opened up new routes, and this has caused prices to lower for overseas package tours. The strengthened baht has encouraged more Thais to book travel tours abroad, and the TAT is concerned that the number holidaying out of the country could reach 12 million people this year.
That has led TAT to increase support for encouraging Thais to travel at home. In addition to the Eat-Shop-Spend economic stimulus already launched, TAT is preparing the “100 Travel Around” project for a November launch on the TAT website, “Tourismthailand.org”. Early comers will be able to make reservations without having to open an application. The government is supporting that initiative with a Bt63 million budget. Another project, “Weekday Travel, Shock Price World”, is also supported by the government with a budget of Bt52 million to provide a voucher with a discount of up to 70 per cent.