Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand

reogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand
7 mins read

Thailand remains to be the hub for Gastronomy tourism, sex tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and educational tourism in Asia. But, its slow adaptation to the technology and safety issues to the visitors has put its image under scrutiny.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Top Market Opportunities
  • Market Trends
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

As per the 2018th edition of Travel and Tourism global economic impact, published by world travel and tourism council, in 2017, travel and tourism industry directly contributed US $2.6 trillion to global GDP. Considering the wider and indirect impact, this sector contributed US $8.3 trillion to a global economy and supported 313 million jobs. It was equal to 10.4% of the world’s GDP and approximately 1 in 10 of all jobs.

The data presented by world travel and tourism council illustrates how important is this sector for countries in achieving economic growth and creating employment. The table below depicts the contribution of the tourism industry in GDP and employment in various regions of the world.

The fastest growth rate in the Travel and Tourism industry is observed in the Asian region. China, Thailand, India, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea etc. are the countries in Asia Pacific region attracting the largest numbers of international tourists.

reogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand

Market Overview

Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand is listed in the top 10 of the world’s most attractive cities. The city has two international airports, a sky train, an underground rail system, and riverboat services.

With the combination of natural beauty and well-managed infrastructures, Bangkok has been a popular destination for a large number of international tourists- mainly from other Asian countries. Apart from Bangkok, other popular tourist destinations in Thailand are Phuket, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

In 2016, 32.6 million international tourists visited Thailand which was a rise of 9% as compared to that in 2015. In 2017, the number of visitors rose up to more than 35 million. In 2016, a daily tourist spending was averagely 5,100 Baht.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) promoted the tourism of Thailand in international market with a slogan- ‘Amazing Thailand’. In 2015, they came up with a campaign- ‘Discover Thainess’. All this strategic planning and execution has increased the flow international tourists in Thailand.

Market Risks

Thailand is the 9th most visited country throughout the globe. In Asia, it is a second most popular destination for international tourists beside China. But, the growing popularity has made the country more vulnerable.

Thailand’s popularity was based on being safe, welcoming and high value- for- money destination. But, the recent political instability, acts of crime and terrorism, civil unrest, and natural disastrous have damage the country’s appeal.

The booming sex industry of Thailand can also be a market risk for tourism in Thailand. Sex work and human trafficking is strongly getting correlated in Thailand. According to UN’s refugee agency, in 2013, about 3 million migrants were working in Thailand.

Although the significant numbers of those migrants are in a fishing industry and factories, stories of human trafficking and exploitation to the workers are often being heard in Thailand. This may damage the image of a country in international arena.

Tiger temple is one of the famous tourist destinations in Thailand. The temple accommodates about 140 tigers. Many tourists visit this temple to shoot a photo with tigers. According to Al Jazeera, the temple is estimated to earn about US $ 15,000 every day.

Reports also came to surface that the greater income source of the temple was the body parts of tigers that are sold in the Chinese market. Other forms of animal abuse like smuggling of the baby elephant are also being constantly questioned by the ecologists and other activists. If not addressed properly, these issues might turn out to be a huge risk for the tourism industry in Thailand.

Top Market Opportunities

Thailand tourism is expanding by relying upon Asian tourists. Among them, Thailand has been successful in drawing the attention of large number of Chinese tourists. With the steady growth of Chinese economy, and rise in the middle and upper middle class people in China, it is obvious that the Chinese tourist is only likely to grow in Thailand.

Tourism Industry in Thailand is not centered in its natural beauty, strong infrastructure, or a proper hospitality. It is a blend of all these factors. Gastronomy (Culinary) tourism, sex tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and educational tourism are the major segments of Thai- tourism. All these segments of Thai tourism are well developed and bring a huge opportunity for the industry.

Market Trends

The Thai government declared 2015 as ‘Discover Thainess’ year with an objective of accelerating national and social development. The plan was to attract international tourists with unique culture of Thai people. As a result Thailand also became a member of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

This strategic decision has helped Thailand in building ‘Thainess’ as internationally recognized brand. The campaign was mainly centered in promoting Thai food, Thai arts, Thai way of life, Thai wellness, Thai festival, and Thai wisdom.

This campaign also helped in promoting new destinations for foreign tourists- Loei and Lampang in the north, Trat in the east, and Buriram in Isan.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is also focused on E- Tourism to educate more international potential tourists about Tourism in Thailand. Information about Tourism in Thailand is easily accessible in the internet through that program.

Industry Challenges

Increasing threats against visitors evolved from the civil unrest and acts of terrorism has damaged the reputation of Thailand as a safe tourist destination. To restore the safety assurance of the international tourists is a challenge for Thailand.

Industry observers see the uncertainty worsened by the political leadership is bringing Mass Tourism Challenge in Thailand. They feel that Thailand lacks a clear direction from top level for long- term improvements in the industry.

The concentration of tourists in a number of Key cities has also been a major challenge in promoting Tourism in Thailand. Key cities of Thailand are crowded by the visitors whereas beyond those cities, although the potential is high, it is not being well developed as a tourist destination.

Technology Trends

In 2016, TAT proudly presented ‘Beacon Technology’ at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016. The technology allowed TAT to communicate and provide information to the visitors through smartphones.

This strengthened TAT’s leading ability in digital marketing. This technology enabled visitors to get access to the map and direction of the event, receive news and information regarding the event, and be informed of each interesting promotions.

Pricing Trends

As per the, the average daily cost per person for visiting Thailand is US $66. Average cost for a week for one person is about US $465. For comparison, in the world’s most expensive tourist destination, Switzerland, the average daily cost per person is about US $200.

In the list of world’s 20 cheapest countries to visit, Thailand lies in the 18th spot with price competitiveness rating of 5.61. Price competitiveness is an essential component in making tourism related decisions.

It is widely accepted standard which considers ticket taxes and airport charges, national purchasing power parity prices, fuel price levels, and hotel price index into its measurements.

Market Size and Forecast

The direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Thailand’s GDP was US $42.2 billion, 9.4% of total GDP in 2017. The total contribution of this industry to Thailand’s GDP was US $95 billion, 21.2% of total GDP in 2017. In 2017, this industry supported about 2,336,500 jobs, about 6.2% of total employment in Thailand.

Market Outlook

The direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Thailand’s GDP is expected to rise by 7.8% in 2018 and by 5.7% pa from 2018 to 2028. Similarly, the total contribution of this industry in Thailand’s GDP is expected to rise by 7.4% in 2018 and by 5.6% pa from 2018 to 2028.

The direct contribution of this sector to employment in Thailand is expected to rise by 5.2% in 2018 and by 4% pa from 2018 to 2028. Total contribution to employment in Thailand is expected to rise by 5.5% in 2018 and by 3.4% from 2018 to 2028.

The tourism of Thailand seems to continue to develop as more places in the country are also developing as new hubs and tourist destinations. The secondary cities of Thailand are also starting to get international visitor’s attraction.

reogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand

Technology Roadmap

The Industry challenges can be addressed with digital technology in transforming Thailand as a smart tourism destination. Google’s ‘Traveler’s Road to Decision’ report shows that 65% of prospective leisure travellers research and plan their trips online.

Thailand is at a subpar level in both – online tourism content and ICT adaptation in local businesses. According to world economic forum’s Travel and Tourism competitiveness index 2015, Thailand is ranked at 48th and a 59th spot among 141 countries in adopting ICT at B2C and B2B transactions respectively.

Slow adaptation of information technology can hinder the Tourism sector of Thailand. Thus, it is vital that Thailand meet the tourist’s demand for adequate information during the trip planning.

Competitive Landscape

The table below illustrates the direct Travel and Tourism growth rate among the following countries of the Asia Pacific Region.

Most of Thailand’s international tourists are from Asia. Other destinations like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China are also improving and refining their offerings. This brings serious competition for Thailand in promoting and expanding its Tourism Industry.

reogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand

Competitive Factors

The impact of technology is severe in the Tourism Industry. Every country is attempting to adapt to technological advancement to gain the competitive advantage over its competitors.

With the obvious reason that Tourism is significant to the country’s GDP, other countries in Asia like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China are also concentrating on promoting their tourism industry. In today’s digitalized world, every country is attempting to digitalize the tourism sector in providing information and services to its visitors.

Strategic Conclusion

Tourism in Thailand has always been the most significant part of their economy. Thus they have built Thailand as the tourist destination for multi purposes- Gastronomy tourism, sex tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and educational tourism.

But, due to civil unrest, acts of terrorism and crime, natural disastrous, and lack of strategic planning and guidance, this sector got somehow affected. In the meantime, other countries from the same region as China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia are investing huge for promoting their Tourism sector. As a result, the growth rate of the Tourism sector is also better in those countries in comparison to Thailand.

Thus, Thailand needs a proper long-term and sustainable direction for their Tourism industry. They also need to adapt themselves to technological advancement while promoting and serving this industry.

Further Reading


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reogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailandreogma|Tourism industry in Thailand supports 6.2% of total employment in Thailand



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