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9 Jul, 2014

Thai Tourism Expenditure Stats Show Europeans are Cheapest Charlies

BANGKOK – With the Thai tourism industry set to shift its KPI targets to expenditure over arrivals, an analysis of the newly released visitor expenditure figures for 2013 shows that Europeans are by far the lowest spenders per person per day. The figures will come as a shock to the system, especially because they show that even visitors from Cambodia, supposedly one of the poorest countries in the world, spend more on a daily basis than citizens of eight European countries.

Germans are the second lowest spenders. However, as their only rivals for the lowest-spot, the Laotians, have a much higher spending growth rate, the Germans will probably become the lowest spenders when the figures are updated next year.

A detailed analysis of the figures provide very good indicators of where the TAT will be allocating its marketing budget in order to action its income-over-visitor-volume policy in the years ahead. There is a clear gap between the short-staying, high-spending visitors, mainly from the Asia-Pacific countries, and the long-staying, low-spending visitors, mainly from Europe. That means the TAT has its work cut out for it: Increase the average length of stay of the former, and the average daily expenditure of the latter.

The figures are very much in line with economic and social trends worldwide. Europeans, hit by economic crises over the past few years, still find Thailand a good “value for money” destination. Translation: They can stay for longer at lower cost, especially families, young people and ageing retirees. On the flip side, the short-haul Asia-Pacific countries are generating vast numbers of emerging middle-class visitors who save on air-fares but splurge on accommodation, shopping and fine dining. The mix is actually a good bottom-line balance for  Thai tourism. The long-stayers, low-spenders provide the cash flow, while the short-stayers, high-spenders generate the cream on top.

The high-income countries, such as the Gulf states, are the largest spenders, especially considering the contribution of medical tourism expenditure. The other two high-volume spenders are Russia (4,619 baht, or US$150.33 pp/day) and China (5,097 baht, or US$165.87 pp/day).

These figures are a goldmine of information, especially when analysed further by age and sex. If similar tabulations can be done across the Asia-Pacific, they will yield a treasure trove for industry marketers and help them better target their budgets. As usual, Travel Impact Newswire is well ahead of the pack, including the under-performing PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre, in bringing these eye-popping figures to light.

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10 LOWEST SPENDERS RATED BY AVERAGE SPENDING PER PERSON PER DAY JAN-DEC 2013
Country of Residence No. of Arrivals Length of Stay Per Capita Spending
No. +/- (%) (Days) +/- Baht/Day +/- (%) US$/Day +/- (%)
LAOS 984,886 0.39 6.13 -0.14 3,549 7.62 115.50 8.84
GERMANY 723,711 9.06 17.83 -0.20 3,710 2.55 120.73 3.72
FRANCE 580,062 7.75 17.52 0.47 3,761 1.54 122.41 2.69
BELGIUM 101,147 7.45 16.82 0.25 3,790 1.57 123.34 2.73
SPAIN 123,985 8.88 14.99 0.41 3,815 0.72 124.15 1.87
ITALY 197,232 5.16 15.98 -0.41 3,841 2.81 125.02 3.98
SWEDEN 338,304 -5.18 19.51 -0.24 3,855 2.63 125.47 3.81
UK 847,678 5.95 17.80 -0.33 3,970 4.92 129.21 6.12
CAMBODIA 487,001 13.11 8.01 -0.32 3,985 2.13 129.70 3.29
SWITZERLAND 210,056 3.60 17.25 0.10 4,038 5.01 131.42 6.21
Note : Exchange Rate 1 US$ = 30.73 Baht.
Source: Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Figures cover expenditure on Shopping, Accommodation, Entertainment, Transport, Food and Miscellaneous Items

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10 HIGHEST SPENDERS RATED BY AVERAGE SPENDING PER PERSON PER DAY JAN-DEC 2013
Country of Residence No. of Arrivals Length of Stay Per Capita Spending
No. +/- (%) (Days) +/- Baht/Day +/- (%) US$/Day +/- (%)
SRI LANKA 76,484 4.42 6.77 -0.08 5,224 6.32 170.01 7.53
SOUTH AFRICA 73,657 0.17 12.90 0.46 5,229 0.77 170.17 1.92
BRUNEI 16,181 21.49 6.24 0.19 5,253 6.74 170.95 7.95
SINGAPORE 1,067,286 7.30 5.40 -0.09 5,389 5.61 175.38 6.82
AUSTRALIA 906,004 -2.58 13.19 -0.20 5,401 6.16 175.78 7.37
HONG KONG 694,084 14.74 6.14 -0.02 5,471 5.41 178.05 6.61
INDIA 1,028,414 4.31 7.14 -0.01 5,505 4.24 179.15 5.43
KUWAIT 75,388 8.91 11.06 0.55 5,621 8.55 182.93 9.79
SAUDI ARABIA 26,121 13.54 10.38 0.43 5,665 6.29 184.37 7.50
U.A.E. 164,710 0.68 10.62 -0.04 6,009 5.60 195.56 6.81
Note : Exchange Rate 1 US$ = 30.73 Baht.
Source: Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Figures cover expenditure on Shopping, Accommodation, Entertainment, Transport, Food and Miscellaneous Items

 

 

 

  • Chris Lee

    An interesting take on the statistics Imtiaz but I really think you are spinning this the wrong way. Truth is with a 9% increase in visitor arrivals from Germany and a length of stay which is nearly three times that of the short haul inter Asian markets, their contribution to the total spend represents a great success. We can agree the key to Thailand’s success has and will be the balance of short haul, short stay, higher average spend markets and long haul, longer stay and high total spend markets. Of course the one thing you haven’t mentioned is the consistent support of the European markets, particularly in the last few months when the inter Asian markets encouraged by their respective governments have chosen to stay away. Thailand’s European friends are for life not just for the good times!