Staying closer to home

Over half of Thai travellers will stick with domestic destinations in 2022, says Visa study

Thai leisure travellers will continue to discover domestic destinations through 2022 as shorter, safer trips become the preferred mode of post-Covid travel, according to a new survey by the global payments leader Visa.

The Visa Voice of the Consumer research study found that over half (51%) of Thai respondents are likely to take a leisure trip within Thailand within the next year, while 23% plan to travel overseas.

The study also found that the top three factors that will make Thai travellers comfortable to travel again are having received a vaccination (67%), a reduction of global cases of Covid infections (55%), and having Covid insurance (41%).

“It’s clear that caution remains among the public when it comes to travel, and there is a strong preference for safety and familiarity,” said Suripong Tantiyanon, country manager for Visa Thailand.

“Businesses in destinations across Thailand should consider these aspects when welcoming tourists back, whether they are from within Thailand or overseas, and ensure visitor safety at every level, and this includes payments.

“During the pandemic contactless payment has seen significant growth due to its speed, convenience, and safety. It’s important businesses continue to meet consumer expectations as travel recovers.”

Travellers throughout Asia Pacific are also approaching their travels differently compared to pre-Covid times. Over half (53%) said they would make an extra effort to book accommodation that is safe and quality assured, while 44% are planning to carry more cards so they can use contactless and digital payments to avoid touching cash. Two in five (42%) of the respondents are planning to avoid crowded tourist spots.

When it comes to the top overseas travel destinations, the majority of Thai travellers are keen to visit Japan, followed by China, Australia, South Korea, Canada and France.

When asked about their appetite for travel, nearly half (48%) said they were keen to travel within a bubble but not in the immediate future. Meanwhile, one-third (33%) said they were keen to travel as soon as possible when a travel bubble is available, and the remainder said they were not interested in travel bubbles.

“Cashless is no longer a matter of convenience. In the post-Covid era, digital payments are synonymous with confidence, safety and recovery,” said Mr Suripong. “It will be interesting to see how digital payments can play a vital role in the recovery of domestic and international tourism as consumers take extra steps to ensure health and safety.”

Visa has partnered with a number of government agencies and private-sector organisations over recent years, such as with the Tourism Authority of Thailand on the Safety and Health programme that certified the sanitation standards of Thai merchants.

“In the meantime, we hope these insights can support our partners in the tourism and payments industries to adapt to the new normal and grow their businesses in the new environment,” said Mr Suripong.


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