Despite the detrimental effects of the pandemic, Thailand’s tourism industry is recovering, boosted by both foreign and domestic travellers. In August 2021, inbound search rates were 39 percent lower than in the same period of 2019, however there has been an observable rebound as the rates have trended upward since the beginning of 2022.
“Thailand is leading Asia in terms of inbound tourists, but it has not yet reached 2019 levels,” says Omri Morgenstern, CEO of Agoda, an online travel platform.
According to Mr Morgenshtern, the return to pre-pandemic levels is dependent on the opening up of major inbound markets such as Japan, mainland China, and Hong Kong. He believes that with this facilitator, previously high levels can be reached within 3-6 months.
Due to government stimulus programs such as “We Travel Together” and Agoda’s collaboration with the Thai government and tourism sector, domestic travel search rates increased by 50 percent in the month of August alone. There was an increase in Thais traveling to secondary cities and upgrading their hotel bookings to more luxurious options than usual.
It is predicted, however, that the increase of foreign travel and the availability of more travel options will have a negative effect on the growing industry of domestic tourism.
Outbound search rates have remained nearly 50 percent lower than in 2019. As Japan continues to have entry restrictions, Thai tourists are choosing to travel to Singapore, South Korea, the US, and Europe instead.However, this does not mean that all practices have reverted to what they were pre-pandemic. Despite the lifting of Covid-19 regulations in the US and Europe, most Thais and South Koreans still choose to wear face masks.
Agoda’s strategy for 2023 emphasizes the importance of technology. It will offer low-cost cancellations and price freezes to business-to-business partners through its online platform.