Thai outbound travel unaffected by cheap tour packages

Image: Kelvin Chng/Straits Times

Thai outbound tour groups remain largely unaffected by cheaper travel packages, as the majority of current outbound travellers possess high purchasing power and seek quality offerings.

Price dumping for package tours has been prevalent in destinations such as South Korea, Macau, and Italy, leading to governmental crackdowns on these practices.

The Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) Vice-President, Chotechuang Soorangura, remarked that the issue of cheaper packages targeting Thai tourists is less significant now than in the past. The shift towards a quality market, where tourists demand premium services, has lessened the impact of low-cost packages.

During the economic downturn, high-spending tourists are the primary demographic for international travel, with travel costs having risen at least 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Chotechuang commented that price-dumping strategies have long been a fixture in the tourism industry and will persist as an option for budget-conscious travellers.

Before the pandemic, destinations like Macau, Hong Kong, and South Korea were known for cheap tour packages that required tourists to purchase items from designated stores, including jewellery and snacks. Chotechuang explained that tourists are usually unaware of these mandatory conditions attached to low-cost tour packages.

“Some tourists were unaware of these conditions beforehand, while others, despite knowing, opted for the packages due to their low prices.”

However, the landscape of outbound tour packages has evolved since the pandemic. While some packages still include mandatory shopping schemes, the associated shops now offer improved services and products.

For example, Taiwanese pineapple cake stores provide museum-like experiences, using storytelling to encourage customer spending. Chotechuang added although fewer companies are using these predatory tactics, it remains a prevalent issue.

“There are fewer companies using the old tactics of forcing product sales, but the issue still exists. It remains a concern that warrants a crackdown.”

Another Vice-President of the TTAA, Kriangphon Piyaekchai, highlighted that Thai travellers are now more discerning, often verifying the credibility of tour operators before making their purchase.

Over 1,000 tour members within the association actively monitor price dumping and identify suspicious packages, he stated.

Kriangphon noted that tracking price-dumping packages can be challenging, especially for those using online travel platforms to attract tourists. He suggested that an emphasis should be placed on educating consumers and aiding them in booking tour packages from reliable service providers, reported Bangkok Post.

Thailand NewsTourism News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

Related Articles