Agoda: Thailand leading Asia bookings post-pandemic

Popular booking website Agoda says Thailand is one of the first Asian countries to see tourism rebound after the Covid-19 pandemic. Omri Morgenshtern, Agoda’s chief executive says even though the inbound search rate for Thailand on the website was 39% lower than in the same period in 2019, it has begun to rise since the beginning of 2022.

“Thailand is leading Asia in terms of inbound tourists, but it has not yet reached 2019 levels.”

Moregenshtern says it will take about three to six months for such search rates to return to pre-pandemic levels. But, he says it is contingent upon major inbound markets like mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan’s reopening.

Thailand’s stimulus schemes like “We Travel Together” have also contributed to an increase in domestic travel search rates on Agoda. The company says data for August saw an increase by 50 per cent from 2019 in its domestic travel search rates. It noted that Thais mostly booked travel to secondary cities while upgrading their bookings to more luxurious hotels.

But outbound search rates leave something to be desired as they remained almost 50 per cent lower in August compared to the same month in 2019. Moregenshtern attributed the lag in outbound searches to Japan remaining closed. Thailand has a history of placing Japan as one of its favourite places for Thais to visit.

Trauma from the pandemic has also contributed to the sluggish outbound tourism rates. As compared to the West, Asian countries are still using face masks and may be nervous to travel to countries in the US or Europe.

“It will take a little bit more time before the outbound line goes up, and that’s true for everywhere, including in Asia.”

He also remarked that the sword is, indeed, double-edged as when outbound tourism increases, domestic tourism will decrease due to more travel options.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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