DESPITE THE political tensions, tourism spending via credit cards is projected to be positive this year as Thais continued travelling both domestically and internationally, said Pittaya Vorapanyasakul, executive vice president for credit-card business at
Spending on tourism with KTC Cards is projected to grow by 15 per cent from last year’s Bt10 billion. Whatever situation arises, Thais still keep travelling, though they may adjust their plans to keep money in their pockets.
So far, there is no sign of lower spending on tourism, but the longer-term picture should be clearer next month.
Last year, KTC Card spending in all categories grew by only 5 per cent to Bt120 billion, below its previous projection of 15 per cent. It put the blame on the political impact, which started in the high season. Tourism bills made up 8 per cent of the total.
Spending on tourism with KTC Cards remained stable, although growth was 6 per cent, lower than the projected 10 per cent. Average tourism spending per card per month stood at Bt9,000, against general bills at Bt12,000.
To achieve its goal, Pittaya said the firm had adopted more aggressive marketing plans to stimulate spending by offering promotional campaigns. The total marketing budget for its credit-card activities is similar to last year at Bt500 million.
The firm also has a unit called KTC World providing its 6,000 cardholders services ranging from flight bookings to insurance, in cooperation with tourism operators such as tour agents and hotels. This service is projected to double to Bt400 million in total sales this year.
The boost will come over the next few months through cooperation with Expedia, an online hotel-booking service with more than 200,000 properties in its worldwide network.
In the second quarter of this year, KTC will also design a special trip of its own. However, offering its own packages will be only occasional, probably every quarter, to avoid competing with those operators providing tourism services in cooperation with the company.
Pittaya said inbound tourism had been hit by the political turmoil, while the outlook for outbound travel was good.
Japan is the top destination among Thais, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and mainland China. Britain and France are among the top destinations in the West.