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Travel and Tourism in Thailand to 2017

Thailand tourism market: Poor transport infrastructure a key barrier to development

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2014-02-11 05:41:02 - Travel and Tourism in Thailand to 2017 - a new market research report on

The Thailand tourism market, which declined slightly in 2009, performed well during the review period. The country recorded an increase in number of visitors, both domestic and international, as well as an increase in expenditure by tourists. Economic growth and promotional activities by the tourism authority supported this growth. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2012, tourism contributed 16.7% to the country´s GDP, and accounted for 12.4% of the total employment. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched several campaigns such as ´Amazing Thailand´, ´Beautiful Thailand´ and ´Unseen in Thailand´ to attract international and domestic tourists.

Poor transport infrastructure is one of the key barriers to the development of domestic tourism in Thailand. A lack of proper



road networks to rural tourist destinations, a lack of proper accommodation facilities, poor timekeeping among airlines and weak communication facilities are some of the main factors.

Thailand is considered an attractive tourism destination, renowned for its culture, history and leisure and entertainment facilities, as well as its beach and island resorts. Thailand caters to a range of tourists, from high-end luxury travelers to backpackers. In addition to its various attractions, Thailand is widely regarded as a value-for-money destination. Online travel information portals and booking systems are emerging and their development will help to improve tourist inflows.

The key barriers for Thai outbound tourism to non-Asian countries are a lack of sufficient financial resources and expensive tour packages. The cost of air travel is the largest financial barrier for foreign destinations such as Europe and the US and it represents a majority of the overall cost of outbound travel. The cost of accommodation in Western and American countries is also high and relatively unaffordable.

The Thai aviation market faced many challenges during the review period. Increasing fuel prices, the emergence of low-cost carriers, regulatory changes and enhanced security procedures have required leading companies to change their market strategies. The global financial crisis was also a challenge for the market, affecting both passenger volumes and profitability.

The majority of Thailand´s leading hotels or hospitality companies are situated in or operate from the country´s major urban centers, principally Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Ayutthaya and Pattaya. In 2011–2012, Substantial growth in the number of hotels was recorded in Bangkok and the country´s main destination for long-stay international tourists, Pattaya.

The prolonged effects of the global financial crisis and pricing structures are the major deterrents for Thai car rental market growth. However, the region presents strong prospects as it continues to integrate into the international community, which will lead to an increase in both business and leisure travel. The country has a developed financial industry, which should facilitate the expansion of the capital-intensive car rental market. The development of distribution channels and the ability to access new and related markets is also expected to emerge as key success factors over the forecast period.

Domestic travelers primarily book tickets through travel agents or online travel sites. Direct booking channels are becoming more prominent due to efforts by airlines to lower distribution costs. The growing e-commerce sector is making it essential for travel agents and tour operators to adopt self-booking tools to remain competitive. Tour operators generally sell their products and services through travel agents. Despite the growth in online travel bookings, senior citizens and those in the lower income groups still continue to book trips through traditional channels.

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