The Land of Smiles has emerged as one of the world’s top four destination for travel in the post-pandemic era, according to data provided in the recent Global Travel Intentions study by Visa. The research is also helping design products that are more responsive to the needs of returning travellers.
Thailand was placed fourth overall on the list of international destinations favoured by returning travellers, behind the USA, the UK and India. The study also indicated which locations in Thailand are most attractive, with cities such as Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin proving especially popular.
“It’s encouraging to see Thailand remains one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world,” says Serene Gay, who is the Visa Group Country Manager for Southeast Asia. “As borders reopen and international travel gradually resumes, it’s important that travel-related businesses are ready to accommodate tourists and their new post-pandemic preferences, including the ability to make safe, contactless digital payments,” she added.
Gay believes that the post-pandemic travel era will be defined and facilitated by new technologies, which presents tourism providers with an opportunity for growth in the months ahead. As she explains, “this will be key in creating business momentum and allowing businesses to thrive in the future.”
A major part of this development will be responsiveness to data. Studies such as the Visa Global Intentions Study provide a valuable resource in this regard, helping tourism providers to better understand their source markets and be more responsive to emerging trends.
The study reveals several key motivations driving tourism in Thailand, comprising leisure pursuits (30%), the chance to escape and relax (25%), and outdoor adventures (18%). Visa’s data confirm what has long been suspected in the sector – that tourists will be looking for relaxing, stress-free and sustainable getaways in the great outdoors following Covid, as an antidote to the shutdowns and restrictions of the pandemic era.
The Visa study also goes a step further, revealing the activities that returning travellers are spending their time and money on in Thailand. The top transactions were Thai massage; eating Thai food at cafes and restaurants; spending time at resorts; and engaging in activities that embrace Thai culture, such as visiting Buddhist temples.
Armed with this unique insight into tourism trends and traveller preferences, tourism operators in Thailand will be better equipped to provide tour packages that are responsive to clients’ needs. As Thailand celebrates the end of Covid-19, a new era of sustainable tourism, supported by new technology, is set to begin.