Connect with us

Thailand

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand

The Thaiger

Published

on

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | The Thaiger

The rise and rise of the Thai Baht, and it’s pushing through the 31.05 to the US Dollar barrier on Wednesday, tops off a turbulent decade of movement against some of the western currencies. The decade’s currency rise has also been matched by a meteoric explosion in tourism pushing Thailand into the top ten list of popular tourist locations in the world.

In 2009 Thailand attracted 14,149,841 tourists. In 2018 it pushed through 38 million and the projection is that it will surpass 40 million by the end of 2019.

The common narrative in social media (including comments on The Thaiger’s Facebook page) has been that the rise of the Thai Baht against western currencies is ‘killing off’ tourism from traditional western markets.

The statistics don’t tend to bear out this sentiment.

There’s no doubt the ‘big mover’ in tourist arrivals in the past decade has been the Chinese, rising from 778,000 in 2009 to 10,536,000 last year – a staggering surge and a profound change to the tourist mix in the Land of Smiles. At the same time the largest demographic of tourists into Thailand, the ASEAN countries, has risen from 3,969,000 to 10,284,000 last year, a large rise in regional tourism which has also had a big impact on Thailand’s tourist numbers.

But the rises have also come from most of the western countries during the same decade, whilst their currencies have preformed poorly against the Thai baht. Generally, as the Baht has risen against their currencies, more of their tourists have been visiting Thailand, albeit not with the same vigour of the Chinese tourist numbers.

So the western tourists are not ‘fleeing in droves’ but continue to be important sectors of the Thai tourist mix.

Another notable rise and fall in the past decade has come from the Russian market. In 2009 there were 337,000 Russians arriving in Thailand. In 2018 there was 1,473,000, but the peak was in 2013 when the figure reached 1,747,000 arrivals.

United Kingdom and the Pound

In the ten years since 2009 the annual arrivals in Thailand has risen from 841,000 to 987,000 (figure rounded to the nearest 1000) tourists in the Land of Smiles last year. The peak year for UK travellers was 2016 when the numbers topped the 1 million mark (1,003,000). The British have been consistent travellers to Thailand, even if the figure isn’t rising much compared to some of the other nationalities. During the same period the Pound’s drop has been noticeable and still going through a few Brexit bumps.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

United States and US$

In the past decade Thailand has become a firm favourite for the travel plans of US citizens, from 627,000 in 2009 to 1,123,248 visitors last year. Their currency has had much more of a roller coaster ride during the decade but the band of change more narrow than some of the other world currencies, between 31-36.5 Baht to the US Dollar. Back in 2013 the US Dollar was even lower against the Thai Baht than it is now.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Australians and the Oz Dollar

Australians coming to Thailand have definitely felt the pinch with a gradual plunge of their spending power dropping from 33 baht to the AUD in 2012 to be around 21 baht to the AUD now. But tourism by Aussies has been quite consistent, from 647,000 in 2009 to 802,000 in 2018. Arrival numbers peaked in 2012 when it reached 930,000 visitors to Thailand.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Europeans and the Euro

The Euro has also seen a steady decade-long slide from a peak around 50 Euro to the Thai Baht down to around 35 Euro now. The two largest European feeder markets have been French and German tourists.

• French tourists have been steady arrivals in Thailand. In 2009 there were 427,000 and has risen to 750,000 in 2018.

• German arrivals have steadily grown from 573,000 a decade ago to 890,000 German tourists visiting Thailand in 2018.

• Swedish tourists have been steady throughout the decade banding between 351,000 arrivals in 2009 and 312,000 last year.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Wikipedia | xe.com | Ministry of Tourism

 



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Military relinquish power as the new Thai cabinet prepares to be sworn in today

The Thaiger

Published

on

Military relinquish power as the new Thai cabinet prepares to be sworn in today | The Thaiger

“Thailand is now fully a democratic country with a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament whose members are elected.”

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has formally stepped down as the head of the NCPO military junta saying Thailand will now function as a normal democracy after five years of army rule.

Prayut’s “normal democracy” includes a loaded upper house of Senators all appointed by the Junta before they relinquished government yesterday.

The new Thai lower house of Parliament is led by the pro-Junta Palang Pracharat Party in a shaky coalition which includes 18 other members needed to rally the numbers to form government.

In a televised address last night, Prayut claimed the country’s military rule had, among many successes, fixed the problem of illegal fishing, tracked down human traffickers, been involved in the rescue of 13 football players from the Tham Luang Cave and overseen peace and growth during the five years in power.

He reiterated that the intervention in May 2014 had been necessary to restore order after six months of street protests and violent clashes.

Referring to the sweeping powers that NCPO commanded over the five years, including the controversial Article 44 which granted the Junta absolute power and absolving of responsibility, Prayut said things will now return to normal under the laws of the Thai constitutional monarchy.

“All problems will be addressed normally based on a democratic system with no use of special powers.”

According to Reuters, last week Prayut used his Article 44 powers one final time to end various restrictions on media. He also transferred civilian legal cases from military to civilian court though he controversially retained the power to allow Thai security forces to carry out searches and make arrests unchallenged.

The new government will be sworn in by His Majesty The King this afternoon. The government will face its first tests in parliament next week where the opposition parties have already foreshadowed a number of censure motions to test the new government’s majority.

Continue Reading

Thailand

Today is Asanha Bucha Day – Why is the day special for Thai Buddhists?

The Thaiger

Published

on

Today is Asanha Bucha Day – Why is the day special for Thai Buddhists? | The Thaiger

Asanha Bucha Day is a public holiday in Thailand marking the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Benares in India over 2,500 years ago. The exact date of the holiday is determined by the waxing moon and the lunar months, but is usually held in July or August. This year it falls on July 16.

The Buddha preached his first sermon at a deer park and from this sermon the Dharma (doctrine) of the Buddha was symbolised as a wheel. The Dharmachakra is also known as the Wheel of Life, Wheel of Law or Wheel of Doctrine and can be seen on flags in temples and buildings all across Thailand. Similarly, pictures or models of deer can often be seen at temples or in depictions of the Buddha.

Like many other Buddhist festivals and holidays, Asahna Bucha (also written as Asalha Puja and other English equivalents) is a day when Thai Buddhists will make merit and visit the local wat. Traditionally, candles are amongst the items donated to the wat for Asahna Bucha and processions featuring candles are held at various towns in Thailand.

The tradition dates back to the times before electricity where extra light was needed at the temple during the darker days of the rainy season. Local people will also ‘wian tian’ which involves walking around the wat with a lit candle, lotus flowers and incense. The day after Asahna Bucha is another significant day with Wan Khao Phansa marking the start of the three-month ‘Phansa’ period which is sometimes referred to as ‘Buddhist Lent’.

Continue Reading

Expats

Ten things the Thai Government need to do right now

The Thaiger

Published

on

Ten things the Thai Government need to do right now | The Thaiger

OPINION

Thailand is a proud country with a rich cultural tradition. And great food. Expats and visitors have been flocking to the Land of Smiles for a century, especially the last 20 years when tourism has surged to become a major contributor to the country’s GDP.

But the veneer of a never-ending rise in tourism numbers has lost its gloss with tourism officials, perennially optimistic and talking-up the numbers, are admitting that tourism is down some 30% this year.

That’s a big drop. If you were running a business, and it lost 30% of the people walking through the door, you’d be be taking immediate and urgent action.

But the rot has been setting in for a number of years and now needs urgent and radical attention if the good-ship ‘Thai Tourism’ can be turned around. It’s not just tourists either, living as an expat has become increasingly complex and expensive for many. There is a perception of “we’re not wanted here anymore” which is an uncomfortable feeling to have when you just want to enjoy living in the country you love and contribute to its economy by participating.

Here are ten suggestions, published in good faith, we believe should be implemented to address key problems.

Make it easier to do business

Between the mountains of paperwork, public service attitude, language barriers and fierce protectionism, doing business in Thailand as a foreigner is not easy. The need to have a small army of accountants and ‘Thai Nominees’ is just a part of the problem. The endless red tape and hurdles put up by the Thai Government, and the patchy application of some of these requirements, make running a business professionally an ongoing challenge.

Make it easier to apply for, and maintain, visas

There are quite a few visas available for tourists and expats to come to Thailand . But the goal posts keep being shifted and the requirements continually change. Thinly-veiled corruption and variations of how the various visas are applied have made getting and maintaining a proper visa in Thailand challenging.

Tourist visas would also benefit from increasing possible length of stays and reducing paperwork before and upon arrival. There is currently a waiver of visa fees for some countries .

A long-term resident visa would also be welcome. Given the difficulty of getting a long-term resident visa in Thailand does little attract real long-term retirees.

Immigration officials, around the country, control their own local fiefdoms where the ‘guidelines’ are just guidelines and are interpreted differently on different days by different officials. Apart from confusing the expats and tourists, these systems provide lucrative opportunities for blackmail and corruption.

A smile could help sometimes too.

Scrap the Tourism Authority of Thailand

Whilst the reasons for Thailand’s droop in tourist numbers are many and varied, the body who has been marketing Brand Thailand is the Tourism Authority of Thailand. They have made countless mis-steps and strategic errors in the past decade and must shoulder part of the responsibility for the current malaise.

A proper, independent, tourist organisation with a professional, modern marketing team with international experience, not just Thais, is a must. Thailand’s ‘charm’ is no longer enough in a highly competitive world of international tourism. Around SE Asia there are now emerging destinations that are simply doing a better job than the team at the TAT who are, like the national airline, beset with nepotism and long-termers who should have been fired a decade ago.

Just about every aspect of tourism in Thailand needs to be updated, cleaned-up and improved and the TAT are just the wrong people to do it. They’ve strategically been chasing an unsustainable tourist mix and placed all their marketing eggs in few baskets, and the strategy has failed.

In a world of immediate online opinion and sites like TripAdvisor, the new tourism tzars in Thailand need to have a thorough understanding of modern social media and how to effectively use it.

Working under the auspices of the Department of Sports and Tourism hasn’t worked well for the TAT. The Government now needs a dedicated Department of Tourism is they are to maintain the percentage of GDP garnered from tourists.

Urgently and aggressively address tourist safety

The fall-out from the Phuket Boat Tragedy is still being felt and has left a poor impression of safety for tourists. A year later and what has changed?

Speaking of Phuket, the shameful handling of the local lifeguard contracts has been a direct reason for drownings along the island’s west coast in recent years. The dithering of contractual arrangements and personality clashes took precedence over hiring, up-skilling and deploying a professional lifeguard service to protect beachgoers.

Around the country the reports of safety lapses causing death and injury to tourists are alarming in their frequency. Tour bus crashes, boats capsizing, renting out motorbikes to unlicensed drivers and tourist attraction safety standards. Problems associated with all of these are mostly preventable.

Change the company law

Part of the problem of doing business in Thailand is that, no matter how good you are, you never really own the legal framework that defines your business. A foreigner can only own 49% of the shares in a Thai company. This protectionist business law is a major barrier for foreigners to invest in Thailand making it difficult, or impossible to attract additional investment or plant to sell your business down the track.

There are provisions for larger enterprises to register a 100% foreign owned Board of Investment (BOI) business but these are quite complicated and expensive to set up and only available for limited industries.

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Products
  • Mining Ceramics and Basic Metals
  • Light Industry
  • Metal Products, Machinery and Transport Equipment
  • Electronic Industry and Electric Appliances
  • Chemicals, Paper and Plastics
  • Services and Public Utlities
  • Technology and Innovation Development

Providing a more flexible and easier company law, with options for small to medium companies, would allow Thailand to attract a much larger number of international business people.

Smile

It’s meant to be the Land of Smiles. But arrive at any checkpoint or airport as you land in or depart Thailand and your first and last impressions are of unhappy, scowling immigration officials. And if you arrive at the wrong time at an airport the queues can be horrendous.

The situation may be similar at any international airports around the world, but when you pin your whole brand around being a Land of Smiles, you could at least try.

Now they’ve added an additional layer of checking you in and out of the country with a fingerprint and iris scan. Taking a copy of all your finger and thumb prints just adds another 30 seconds or so as you arrive and depart… multiplied by x number of tourists waiting in line.

The same applies for some, probably more than in the past, of retailers who seem to spend a lot more time scrolling on their phone rather than attending to their customers these days. Some just don’t like being interrupted and, if you’re not buying, give you attitude rather than a simple acknowledgement.

Address the currency

To be fair there is only a limited number of levers to pull for Thai treasury officials that could ‘force’ the Thai baht to a lower value. Short of printing new currency (which would also push up inflation), there are limits to what a modern government can do in an open international currency trading world.

Still, local businesses in tourist regions could take some control and reduce the ‘tourist’ prices and stop the blatant rip-offs aimed at solely extracting money from tourists’ pockets. Buy a Big Mac in the middle of Patong or Pattaya, then drive 3 kilometres away to another McDonalds and note the difference in price. Just maintaining your high prices and hoping for the best isn’t going to win new business.

The two-tier pricing is also a slap in the face for tourists (and most expats) which smacks of xenophobia or greed. Even the word ‘farang’ denotes an attitude to caucasian foreigners, either of derision or as walking ATMs.

Name and shame scammers

Scams have been part of the tourist game forever in Thailand. Some are just a silly punt at extracting a few extra baht from unsuspecting tourists, others are down-right dangerous. When these scammers get outed and charged (rarely) the fines and punishment are often perfunctory and are not a deterrent to other would-be scammers.

There should be a register of these annoying tourist rip-offs and schemes which is posted on some website where the ‘shame’ can act as a better deterrent using the Asian concept of ‘losing face’ as a weapon to combat scammers and prevent more from flourishing.

Or simply track down punish the current scammers and fine them more often.

Make it easier to buy property

You see a property. You like it. You negotiate a price and want to buy it. That’s usually where it starts to get difficult. Foreigners cannot buy land or the land that their villa is sitting on. Many have got around these laws by leasing the land or forming a Thai company to do the transaction. In both cases the ‘buyer’ is never really the ‘owner’ and, whilst working reasonably well for 30 years, is still a long way around a fairly simple situation. The only winners are lawyers as they help foreign buyers navigate the labyrinth of Thai property and company law.

With the law allowing foreigners to own condominiums 100% (as long as 51% of the available units in the development is owned by Thais), developers have raced to build condos to feed the foreign buyer interest in Thai property.

24 reporting of address (TM30) needs to be simplified or scrapped

The requirement for foreigners to report their residential location within 24 hours of a change of address smacks of a ham-fisted Big Brother. The law applies to expats as well, forcing them to report to Immigration when they return from a weekend away or a business trip. The actual guidelines lead to more questions, rather than providing answers, and the enforcement is applied ad-hoc.

If the report could be done ‘easily’ online on an effective, easy-to-use, reliable webpage or App, that would certainly help. But that’s not the case as the site is often down and not in multiple languages. Simplifying and streamlining the process of reporting where you are as a foreigner, is way overdue.

We understand the security requirements for reporting non-Thais’ whereabouts but requirement to report EVERY time you sleep at another address, other than your home, is limiting and a complete over-reaction to a small problem.

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
ฺBlink กรี๊ดคอแตก ลิซ่า Solo คอนเสิร์ตวันแรก BLACKPINK world tour in your area : encore | The Thaiger
BLACKPINK4 days ago

ฺBlink กรี๊ดคอแตก ลิซ่า Solo คอนเสิร์ตวันแรก BLACKPINK world tour in your area : encore

ไฮไลท์ บราซิล-โปแลนด์ วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบสุดท้าย | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล5 days ago

ไฮไลท์ บราซิล-โปแลนด์ วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบสุดท้าย

คลิปย้อนหลัง Miss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ | The Thaiger
บันเทิง5 days ago

คลิปย้อนหลัง Miss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ

ถ่ายทอดสดMiss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ 10 ก.ค. | The Thaiger
บันเทิง6 days ago

ถ่ายทอดสดMiss Grand Thailand 2019 รอบชุดประจำชาติ 10 ก.ค.

ชมไฮไลต์ ‘นุสรา ต้อมคำ’ เซตมือ 1 เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบแรก | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล6 days ago

ชมไฮไลต์ ‘นุสรา ต้อมคำ’ เซตมือ 1 เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019 รอบแรก

6 ก.ค. บ่ายสอง ถ่ายทอดสดตุรกี-บราซิล วอลเลย์บอลเนชั่นส์ ลีกรอบตัดเชือก | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 week ago

6 ก.ค. บ่ายสอง ถ่ายทอดสดตุรกี-บราซิล วอลเลย์บอลเนชั่นส์ ลีกรอบตัดเชือก

สูสี! ไฮไลต์บอลโลกหญิงรอบรองฯ คู่ 2 เนเธอร์แลนด์ 1-0 สวีเดน | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล2 weeks ago

สูสี! ไฮไลต์บอลโลกหญิงรอบรองฯ คู่ 2 เนเธอร์แลนด์ 1-0 สวีเดน

“คิมซูฮยอน” ปลดประจำการทหารแล้ว ภาพแรกหลังออกจากกองทัพ [คลิป] | The Thaiger
K-Pop2 weeks ago

“คิมซูฮยอน” ปลดประจำการทหารแล้ว ภาพแรกหลังออกจากกองทัพ [คลิป]

รังสิมันต์ โรมเปิดคลิปนาทีคนร้าย จอดรถมอเตอร์ไซค์ไล่ตีจ่านิว [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง2 weeks ago

รังสิมันต์ โรมเปิดคลิปนาทีคนร้าย จอดรถมอเตอร์ไซค์ไล่ตีจ่านิว [คลิป]

เลว! วินจยย.อุดมสุขยกพวกตีกัน ไม่กลัวตร. หนุ่มโดนลูกหลงกระสุนเจาะศีรษะดับหน้าบ้าน [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าวกรุงเทพ1 month ago

เลว! วินจยย.อุดมสุขยกพวกตีกัน ไม่กลัวตร. หนุ่มโดนลูกหลงกระสุนเจาะศีรษะดับหน้าบ้าน [คลิป]

ชมไฮไลต์การแข่งขันไทย-สหรัฐ “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” กลุ่ม F | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล1 month ago

ชมไฮไลต์การแข่งขันไทย-สหรัฐ “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” กลุ่ม F

10 มิ.ย. ถ่ายทอดสด “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” ไทยพบสหรัฐ ตี 2 -PPTVHD ยิงตรงจากสนาม | The Thaiger
ฟุตบอล1 month ago

10 มิ.ย. ถ่ายทอดสด “ฟุตบอลโลกหญิง 2019” ไทยพบสหรัฐ ตี 2 -PPTVHD ยิงตรงจากสนาม

เริ่มแล้ว งาน”1 ปี อนาคตใหม่ เดินไปด้วยกัน” ณ หอประชุมใหญ่ ธรรมศาสตร์ท่าพระจันทร์ | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 month ago

เริ่มแล้ว งาน”1 ปี อนาคตใหม่ เดินไปด้วยกัน” ณ หอประชุมใหญ่ ธรรมศาสตร์ท่าพระจันทร์

ดูย้อนหลังวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ตุรกี “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 9 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

ดูย้อนหลังวอลเลย์บอลไทย-ตุรกี “เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 9

ระเบิดความมันส์ 6 มิ.ย. ไทย-ตุรกี “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

ระเบิดความมันส์ 6 มิ.ย. ไทย-ตุรกี “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด

Trending