Japan tops foreign destinations for Thai tourists. (Photo by Jetjaras Na Ranong)
Japan will stay the top travel destination for Thais over the next two years, followed by China, Singapore and South Korea, says the Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2017.
Mr Suripong says Thais are travelling more but taking shorter trips.
Emerging destinations for Thai tourists include Australia, the Maldives, the US, New Zealand and Taiwan.
The study, conducted during June and July 2017, looked at international travel trends and behaviour of 17,500 global travellers from 27 countries.
The study found people are travelling more but the trips are getting shorter. The average length of stay for Thais when travelling overseas was five nights per trip, lower than the global average length of stay — 9-10 nights per trip.
Suripong Tantiyanon, country manager for Visa Thailand, said the study showed nearly 50% of Thai tourists use roaming while abroad.
The World Travel and Tourism Council said the travel and tourism industry continues to play a significant role in driving the global economy. Global tourism generated 272 trillion baht in 2017 or over 10.4% of global GDP, he said.
This is even more crucial for Thailand, where the tourism industry accounted for 18-19% of GDP in 2017, according to Bank of Thailand data. The central bank forecasts the tourism industry will grow 7.4% in 2018.
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations for all travellers (13%) as well as those from Asia-Pacific (18%).
For Thai travellers, the top five destinations over the past two years were Japan (64%), Hong Kong (37%), Singapore (29%), South Korea (21%) and China (16%).
Over the next two years, the top four destinations are likely to remain the same except for China, which is expected to be surpassed by Australia.
Mr Suripong said more travellers are using technology to plan trips and navigate their destinations.