The unrest in the three southernmost provinces, which erupted in 2004 and continued through 2005, has affected tourism. The number of Malaysian tourists traveling to Thailand has subsided significantly since 2005. In addition, the structure of the Malaysian tourist market has also shown interesting changes as noted in the following:
The first visit tourists have subsided Malaysians who haven't visited Thailand before and prefer to travel in group tours have been impacted directly, as their ratio has subsided along with group tour arrivals.
The market for revisiting tourists has become more prominentMalaysian tourists who have visited Thailand before—and tend to like traveling freely on their own—continue to visit Thailand in meaningful numbers. This has boosted the ratio of their arrivals as well as groups travel to Thailand independent of tours, as well.
More Malaysian tourists are traveling by planeThe unrest in the lower southern region, and low-cost airline service offers have boosted the number of tourists traveling to Thailand by plane, while the ratio of tourists traveling on land has fallen, conversely.
Malaysian tourists are diversifying their destinationsTheir travel has been dispersed more into other parts of Thailand, from former situation where most Malaysian tourists concentrated on tourist venues in the lower south of Thailand.
The MICE group tours are becoming more prominent Most Malaysian tourists travel to Thailand on vacations, but this trend has dropped significantly in 2005, while those traveling here for meetings and conventions are growing in number.
The changing structure of the Malaysian tourist market has raised the average spending during each visit to Thailand, in kind, even though the situation in the troubled lower south has deteriorated the Malaysian tourist market continuously into 2006. However, there are also many favorable factors, this year, if the public and private sectors cooperate in organizing activities to attract Malaysian tourists in conjunction with promoting Thai tourism within the Malaysian market, particularly for family groups and the MICE market. Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) estimates that the Malaysian tourist market will be able to generate around 1.3 million Malaysian tourists traveling to Thailand, decreasing by 40,000 persons over last year, and earn tourism income to Thailand of around THB36 billion, rising by 3 percent over 2005.