KResearch is of the view that Thailand's outbound tourism will continue to grow in 2016. That positive outlook began at the beginning of the year, when people increasingly travel during long holidays, and tourism-related businesses, e.g., tour companies, hotels, airlines, money exchangers, financial institutions, credit card issuers, etc., release marketing campaigns non-stop.
Japan remains a top destination for Thai tourists this year; due to ongoing attractive promotions, about 850,000-900,000 Thais are expected to visit Japan in 2016. Increasingly, Thai holidaymakers have chosen ASEAN as their second most favored destinations, thanks to proximity, allowing easier travel and visa arrangements. Therefore, tourism-related business operators should offer products/add-ons that accommodate the needs of such travelers, both those from Thailand (new generation globetrotters and educational institutions that focus on educating their students about ASEAN), as well as foreign visitors who plan to continue on to neighboring countries, e.g., Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, etc. In 2016, about 4.0-4.5 million Thais are expected to take holidays within ASEAN.
Meanwhile, European nations, e.g., the UK, Germany, France, etc., remain favorable to Thai travelers. Outbound tourism to that region should expand this year, due to support from lower airfares as airlines tend to compete on promotions, as well as European low-cost carriers' plans to add flights to Thailand, etc. Therefore, air travel will be offered at various price levels to attract both first-time and repeat visitors.
Given the above factors, KResearch expects that about 7.4 million Thais will likely travel abroad in 2016, growing 6.0 percent YoY. However, tourism-related businesses should keep an eye on current affairs, e.g., geopolitical issues (terrorist attacks), natural disasters that may affect travel plans and general sentiment towards destinations, plus exchange rates that may impact tourists' spending and business operators' operating costs.