Outbound travel package prices in Thailand will be on the decline for the next two years, with longhaul destinations seeing as much as a 50 per cent drop in prices, according to the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA).
“In the past two months, package prices to many destinations, especially to Europe, were very low, starting at only 35,000 baht (about US$1,000). Many agents now sell packages at a loss because the projection of Thai people’s spending power was wrong,” said Suparerk Soonrangura, president of TTAA.
The financial health of Thai travellers had not bounced back as expected with many now choosing shorthaul destinations of less than seven hours. Additionally, companies and state agencies have cut budgets for overseas meetings and incentives. Travel firms have also started a price war, added Suparerk.
“The unpleasant situation will continue for the next two years at least. Only strong and flexible tour operators can survive,” he noted, advising travel agents to create new products that are in line with trends such as cycling- and marathon-related packages.
Although outbound flow for tours is tightening, the number of Thai FITs is growing.
Thai travellers, especially millennials, prefer to travel free and easy. A trove of travel information on the Internet and lower costs stemming from stiff competition among airlines, especially LCCs, has encouraged them to travel more independently as well, explained Suparerk.
TTAA expects overall outbound travel to grow 18 per cent to 6.9 million trips this year and to 7.1 million by 2017. Tours are accounting for 20 per cent of total traffic this year and is on the decline.
The top three outbound destinations for Thais are China, Japan and South Korea.