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Domestic tourism survey indicates long road to recovery

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Thai PBS World

“Entrepreneurs in the tourism industry need to adjust their strategy to suit consumer behaviour in the new normal era.”

A government survey looking at the travel habits of domestic tourists indicates an uphill struggle for the tourism industry’s recovery. Pimchanok Vonkorpon, from the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office says around a quarter of those surveyed travelled during weekends and holidays, but most spent less than 5,000 baht per trip.

“The survey was conducted in 884 districts in every province among 8,124 respondents. Out of 27% who said that they had travelled upcountry from July to September, 56% said the objective was sightseeing, while 44% travelled to visit their families.”

Of those surveyed, over 86% say they spent less than 5,000 baht on the trip, over 37% spent between 5,000 and 10,000 baht, while just under 14% spent over 10,000 baht. Those surveyed were also asked if they planned to travel this month, with nearly 48% saying they have no plans to do so. Over 40% remain unsure, with fewer than 12% of respondents saying they’ve made travel plans.

Pimchanok says there are 3 primary concerns among those surveyed, the biggest one being a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus, which over 40% of respondents say they’re worried about. Over 17% expressed concern over the rising cost of consumer products, while over 14% say they’re worried about increased household debt.

The responses would indicate that there is a long uphill road ahead for Thailand’s domestic tourism sector. Pimchanok is calling on industry leaders to adjust to the new challenges consumers are faced with.

“From the survey results, there are indications that domestic tourism might not recover in the second half of the year, as people are still worried about the pandemic and economic recession. Entrepreneurs in the tourism industry need to adjust their strategy to suit consumer behaviour in the new normal era, with focus on increasing protection against Covid-19, as well as keeping the price affordable and suitable to the consumer’s economic status.”

The Ministry of Commerce says that, in addition to surveying consumers to gauge behaviour, it is also monitoring prices to ensure there is no overcharging or hoarding of products taking place.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Time for “The Thaiger” to look into the average spend of international tourists……. 14 days, I spent 25,000 on accomodation at a hotel owned and operated by Thais. I spent about 7000 on food at street food outlets operated by Thai Families, about 3000 on Motorbike hire to a Thai Family motorbike hire business and about 7000 on tours with local charter boat companies and then provisions at the local 7/11 about 3000. All together that is 45000 baht and all with Thai Local businesses and the Thai people they employ. Oh and I di fly Thai Airways so I guess my airfare counts too. Neither my wife or I have Covid 19 and want to come again. Just waiting for Thailand to open up.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      Agree with you Jason, although they should also take a look at the expats living here, in Thailand. I just came back from a 3n. weekend in Phuket, were I know my total was a bit over 60K and, even though, I took care of the resort, the accompanying couple rented a car, took care of food, wine and whatnot.

      So … so to simplify; there are different ways of travel, and the Thai way –most often– isn’t helping the local businesses and communities with much. And I think the results of this survey tells us that.

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    They need a research for this. Maybe spent some time with the average Thai family and you would know. I know what I and my family spent when I am in Thailand and what they spent when I am gone. They are willing to eat dry fish and rice, I don’t. Therefore they spent a few 100baht a day at the most, I spent at least 5000baht at day. And this is just for food. There is no shopping, transport, entertainment, DOMESTIC TRAVEL… included. Indeed we do travel domestically, Thai/Farang mix. And guess what? It’s not happening anymore, thanks to the glorious Thai politics. And my money would be spent in the provinces, road site stalls, small local hotels… and not on the big chains in Bangkok.
    I want to spent the money, but I am not allowed just because we don’t hold a marriage certificate. Amazing Thailand.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      5000 baht for only food? You must be an idiot, and your family 100 baht?, what nonsense you spew.

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 1:21 am

        He said “a few hundred” baht per day. Learn to read. 5k per day is excessive.

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    I am now considering closing my Thailand office & relocating. We are an SME with several European based directors travelling to thailand on a monthly basis. Thailand is making it far too difficult for us to maintain our operation. A sad day for us…

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 1:04 am


      Move your business to England, there you can be on total shut down, see how you like that.

      It is difficult in all countries at the moment for most businesses including Thai businesses owned by Thai people so why do you think your small business is special?

      You want to open the borders and let the virus come in killing the local people just so you can earn money, that hardly seems fair does it?

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 1:27 am

        Jeez…James! I guess its better to die from the fact you no longer have a means to provide rather than the “scary” wuflu that has a 99.6 percent chance of recovery. Government cares so much about you they’ll kill you out of compassion, eh?

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      And a sadder day for Thailand.
      When your company pulls out, it will persuade others to follow.
      Thailand will become a pariah to business.
      They will suffer through their own stupid fault.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    The lack of double and quadruple entry fees for foreigners at Thai private and government attractions will really hit them,

  5. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    I wish the few farangs who keep on telling us how they spend money in Thailand would see the big picture.

    There are not many of you but there are normally 30,000,000 other international tourists each year spending more than you on your one week here and there once every few years.

    If Thailand opened its gates and was flooded by tourists it would cause billions in damage to the country through covid deaths, hospitals would be overrun, and devastate families.

    Many other countries in the world are protecting their people by having strict controls but just for the sake of your holiday or travel plans, you don’t seem to mind if Thais are killed.

    Stop being selfish and admit closing tourism to Thailand is a good thing at the moment with respect to saving Thai lives.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 6:31 am

      And did not they want to extend our visa – we would have paid for that – when we already were in Thailand? Why did we have to leave?

  6. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    ” long road to recovery ” , or may be ” no road to recovery “

  7. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    those colonialist mentality comment above make me want to vomit, yo, i spend money in your shitty country, you should be treating me like a VIP, and let me get in because i say so, those behaviour make thai people hate you, and you don’t even understand why

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      There might be some elements in what you say but also, the gov seems duplicitous with their failed tourist program attempts. If the Thai Gov was serious about keeping tourists out to protect the people, why did they try to lure the rich in and select groups from China?

  8. Avatar


    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Foreign tourists bring money into the country from abroad, so they stimulate the Thai economy.

    This is a major difference comapared to local tourists.

    What local toursits spend does not stimulate the economy, because they have a given amount of money and if they spend on holiday, they will have less money to spend on other products and services.

  9. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 12:04 am

    The survey helps to understand why the domestic tourism scheme failed and will continue to fail. It’s fatally flawed in it’s attempt to get Thais to do something they don’t normally do, or at least not all that much. Thailand wanted the people to travel further and longer domestically. Neither of which they do often. They did this by making domestic travel cheaper, but when you have less money its a tough sell. It’s why when the first go fell flat (over 90% of the hotel vouchers were never used), it was crazy to see the government in effect doubling down. Instead of making the subsidies larger, they instead increase the length of stay allowed. If the people can’t afford 5 days, why in the world would the government think they can afford 10 days?

  10. Avatar

    west tiger

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 12:38 am

    There will never be a road to recovery through domestic tourism for Thailand. There is just not enough money there from the average Thai to make a difference, and exports are in decline due in no small part to the overvalued Baht

  11. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 5:09 am

    There is very little “tourist industry” in Thailand left at this point. Almost everyone I know in the tourist business in Thailand has been laid off/furloughed. Let’s take Hua Hin, for example, the ultimate “Thai domestic tourism” destination. A few hotels are running at 50% occupancy, some at 20% occupancy, and some are closed. Anyone in the hospitality industry will tell you that you don’t even break-even at an average of 30% occupancy.

    Of course the Thai officials might still be trying to figure out why the Thais spent an average of 5,000-6,000 baht on a 3-4 day trip, while the average foreign tourist spends that in 1-2 days.

    At this point these same Thai officials should be perhaps spending their time and effort putting together an IMF loan request/bailout package come January. Well, that’s the price one pays for having 20% of their GDP (counting direct and cumulative/knock-on effect revenue) dependent on tourism. Or they may request it from their newfound friends, the Chinese, in the form of AIIB loans, which unfortunately may come with some pesky strings attached.

  12. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 6:55 am

    No _tourist_ will come if there is _any_ quarantine. Only people who _must_ be in Thailand. We usually stay long term but we want _to travel_ outside of the country. And with quarantine it is not possible.

  13. Avatar

    Peter Hayes

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    There is no easy solution for restarting tourism. If quarantine deemed essential maybe Government incentives required. But in the meantime government financial help required for the many unemployed especially those who are unregistered who previously have relied on tourism for their income

  14. Avatar

    Miranda Adside

    Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 7:41 pm


  15. Avatar

    Helene Jelks

    Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    sex cambridge dictionary

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