Last year, Thailand outbound reached a total of 7.74 million trips up by almost 13.9% over 2015. And according to Ittirit Kinglake, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) in a conversation with the daily Bangkok Post, Thai outbound travellers could pass by 2020 the symbolic mark of ten million travellers. This would represent a growth of 29% in just three years time, or an average annual growth of 9.6%.
In the interview with the Bangkok Post, Mr. Kinglake indicated that “many attractive packages for Thai people plus extra privileges from hotels and airlines are working with the support of tourism organisations and operators in many countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia”.
The bulk of the growth would indeed come from other Asian countries. And above all Japan, which is now Asia’s top destination for Thai travellers, thanks to the visa waiver policy implemented since 2013. In just five years, total Thai arrivals to Japan jumped from 260,000 in 2012 to 901,000 in 2016, a growth of 246% during that period. Over a million Thai are now expected to Japan in 2017.South Korea, for a long time a favourite of Thai travellers, was also back on track last year with arrivals up by 26.5% to 371,000 arrivals.
Over 3.5 million Thai tourists venture to the Kingdom’s neighbours in ASEAN (Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar) as well as to Southern China. There is also strong growth of Thai travellers to Bali and China. The new policy of visa waiver for Taiwan will certainly lift Thailand tourist arrivals this year to that country.
Thai tourists spent an average of 30,064 baht per overseas trip last year, up 2.15% from the earlier year. In total, Thai tourists spent 232 billion baht on overseas trips last year, representing a 16.4% increase from 2015.
Among the most visited countries by Thai travellers in 2016 were Lao PDR with 1.9 million, Malaysia with 1.78 million, Japan with 0.9 million, China PRC with 0.7 million, Singapore with 0.55 million, Cambodia with 0.34 million and South Korea with 0.37 million Thai holidaymakers.