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16 Jan, 2020

B2B session at Thai outbound travel show hits all-time high

Bangkok – The 26th bi-annual Thailand International Travel Fair, an outbound show, began on Jan 15 with a business matching turnout of 159 suppliers, the highest ever. China was the top country represented with Japan coming in second and India third.

The B2B networking session precedes the four-day event organised by the Thailand Travel Agents Association, the outbound travel grouping. It is designed to get business deals and bookings done for the annual school holiday peak travel period between May-June.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, outbound Thais travel totalled 9,965,658 in 2018, with an average length of stay of 5.79 days and total expenditure of US$9.81 billion. In 2019, outbound travel is projectd to have crossed 10 million.

Thai outbound is being driven by a stable economy and a strong baht, rising purchasing power by a well-heeled middle class, the marketing efforts of low cost airlines, credit card promotions, improved transportation linkages with the neighbouring countries, and visa-free and/or visa arrival facilities by many countries.

Social media postings by the young generation is also spreading the word, especially about non-traditional destinations.

The most popular destinations, according to the MoTS surveys, are Laos and Malaysia, mainly because they share land-borders with Thailand. The most popular overseas destinations are Japan, Korea and Taiwan, all of which give visa-free access to Thais.

Of the total outbound Thai travellers in 2018, 7.8 million went to North and Southeast Asian destinations. In Europe, the most popular destinations are UK, France and Germany.

The main travel show starting Jan 16 is dominated by exhibitors from Asia. Set up in 2004, it is a long way from achieving its full potential.

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