Most Thais prefer to travel within Kingdom
Most Thais like to travel in their own country rather than abroad because of lower costs and a good atmosphere, according to a poll released yesterday by the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
The poll found that 80.4 per cent of respondents said they would travel domestically if they had only one chance to make a trip. The other 19.6 per cent who wanted to go overseas would prefer South Korea, China, Japan or Vietnam to get new experiences and explore a different culture.
The poll, titled "Do Thais Dislike Thailand?", surveyed 1,200 people across the nation from February 4-8. Male and female respondents were mixed almost equally. The monthly salaries of 28.4 per cent were between Bt20,001 and Bt30,000.
The findings showed 36.6 per cent thought a domestic trip was more worthwhile than travelling overseas and 51.8 per cent said it was safer to stay in the Kingdom. However, on the issue of worthiness of travel in Thailand, those who earned less than Bt5,000 a month were the biggest group with such a preference at 64.3 per cent, followed by 49 per cent in the Bt5,001-Bt10,000 bracket and 30.9 per cent of those earning Bt10,001-Bt20,000.
Despite the recent increase in the minimum wage, 49.4 per cent said their spending power for tourism remained unchanged, while 28.5 per cent said they would spend more.
Assistant Professor Thanavath Phonvichai, the centre's director, said he believed that domestic tourism would stay dynamic, thanks to higher incomes and some long holidays. He projected 120 million trips by Thais for the whole year, compared with the Tourism Authority of Thailand's estimate of 115 million.
The findings showed that 89.5 per cent would return to a place they had already visited because it was convenient to get to (20.3 per cent), followed by its beauty (19.9 per cent), inexpensive products and accommodation (18.6 per cent), and friendly people (17.4 per cent).
The remaining 10.5 per cent said they would not return to a previous destination, for various reasons - too many people and a lack of facilities, a poor welcome, and a lack of safety for their persons or belongings.
Narathiwat, Yala, Bangkok, Pattani, and Songkhla were the provinces they most disliked travelling to. The reasons included safety, travel distance, traffic and crowds, as well as the unrest in the three southernmost provinces.
Tourism is one of the four main industries driving the Thai economy. The Thai Chamber of Commerce held a seminar yesterday where tourism operators discussed ways to strengthen their industry strategically. They noted a lack of service standardisation, while information and communication technology was underdeveloped.