China led the way with the highest percentage increase in search traffic, with a year-on-year increase of 30%, outpacing the overall international average of 4%. India and Indonesia followed in second and third place, with year-on-year search increases of 16% and 12%, respectively.
The results support arrival statistics from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which noted that China and Russia were also two of the largest contributors to Thailand’s inbound tourism and inbound expenditure in the first half of 2017.
Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “The data unveiled both what inbound countries were most interested in Thailand, as well as the most searched destinations in the country. It also provided insightful information on international travel behaviour.” (See story here.)
Grant Colquhoun, TripAdvisor spokesperson, said that “Thailand has something for every traveller with its tropical beaches, heritage towns, delicious food, and an ever cosmopolitan capital city. The inbound travel data that is available on TripAdvisor provides local hospitality businesses and service providers with insights on travel trends and consumer behaviour to help them more effectively capture and cater to a global audience of high intent travellers.”
“We are also encouraged to see that accommodation in Thailand is becoming more engaged on TripAdvisor with 53% of them responding to travel reviews within the last month,” he added.
When examining the total inbound search traffic for Thailand, China tops the list followed by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Russia.
Among Chinese travellers searching for Thailand, there was also increased interest from residents of second-tier cities in Hangzhou, Dalian and Qingdao. The surge in interest comes as the China Tourism Academy (CTA) shared that second and third-tier cities in China are fast catching up as key outbound tourism markets, due to increasing disposable income and improved flight connectivity to Southeast Asia.
The top five Chinese cities with the biggest increase in traveller interest to Thailand on TripAdvisor:
- Beijing 102%
- Hangzhou 91%
- Dalian 81%
- Qingdao 65%
- Shanghai 61%
Thailand’s tropical islands continue to pique the interest of all international travellers, with the resort town of Krabi seeing the highest year-on-year increase in searches at 41%.
Top five Thai destinations with the biggest increase in international travel searches on TripAdvisor included:
- Krabi 41%
- Kathu 37%
- Nai Yang 31%
- Chiang Mai 10%
- 4 Hat Yai 10%
*Exact percentages rounded to zero decimal points.
The news comes as international visitor arrivals are expected to grow by 5% to 8.7 million with tourism revenue increasing by 10% to B460 billion (US$13bn) in the third quarter of 2017.
Arrivals from Asean nations grew by 7% to about 2.5mn tourists, while North East Asia remains the top inbound source market with 3.7mn visitors (2% increase). Visitors from Europe totalled 1.3mn tourists (up 8%), with arrivals from the Middle East (+14% to 340,000 tourists), South Asia (+11% to 390,000 visitors) and the Americas (+9% to 280,000 tourists); all showing strong growth, reports the TAT. (See story here.)
TAT Governor Yuthasak said, “The positive outlook is based on many favourable factors, including a surge in travel demands from the short-haul markets during school holidays and the month of Ramadan. A Chinese market recovery that started from May onwards also had a positive effect on Thailand’s overall tourism arrivals. At the same time, long-haul markets including the United States and Russia continue to grow steadily.”
New air access from Taiwan, Indonesia, China and Turkey is considered among the favourable factors contributing to the growth. This includes new flights from Taipei, Bali and Shenzhen to Bangkok; from Guangzhou to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai; from Changsa to Chiang Rai and from Istanbul to Phuket.
Thailand also ranked among ForwardKeys’ top destinations with a 4% share of overall future bookings. It measures future bookings based on the highest number of airline reservations secured during the months of June to August 2017.
“TAT’s aggressive tourism marketing activities are also playing an important role in Thailand being marked as a preferred destination among international travellers,” Mr Yuthasak said.
TAT received positive results from its “Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise 2017” campaign (formerly known as the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale) held from June 1 to July 31. A “Women’s Journey Thailand” campaign followed in August for the second consecutive year, offering privileges and deals for women travellers alongside many special activities.
In the first half of this year, Thailand welcomed 17.3mn tourists, generating B876bn (US$25bn) for the Thai economy. TAT targets Thailand to finish 2017, earning B1.81 trillion (US$50bn).