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TAT releases 2016 SWOT analysis of Scandinavian market: predicts vigorous growth for Thailand


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has released its 2016 projection analysis for the Scandinavian markets of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

In 2014, there were 35.5 million passengers (an increase of +7% comparing to the previous year) that travelled to and from the airports in Sweden for both international and domestic travel, of which 91% of the total international travel (equivalent to 20.6 million) travelled within European countries and 9% or 1.98 million travelled outside the European Union, including long haul trips. While travelling to and from Sweden and Denmark is dominated by international traffic, Norway on the contrary has domestic travel accounting for 60% of the total passengers (29,8 million) in 2014.However, the international travel increased with +4% last year and gained one percent more in terms of the market share.

According to Norway’s Airport Authority, London, Copenhagen, and Alicante are the most popular holiday destinations and Gdansk and Amsterdam saw the largest growth. New York is still the most popular among intercontinental destinations, while Thailand and Dubai are experiencing vigorous growth.

For 2014, international outbound from all Scandinavian countries increased well with +7,93% for Sweden, +4,63% Denmark and +5,33% for Norway. Although there was a sign of slow growth since the autumn of 2014, all three airport authorities believe in a positive increase in travelling for the future years.

There has been no change in 2015 for scheduled direct flights from the three major Scandinavian airports. Thai Airways has daily flights from Stockholm and Copenhagen all year round. They will continue with 2 x direct flights per week to Phuket during the winter season from both Stockholm and Copenhagen. In Oslo, the Thai national carrier operates five flights per week during summer and daily operations during winter. In May and September, it will reduce one flight per week from Stockholm and Copenhagen to read six flights per week, due to low demand during low season. Norwegian (LCC) operates three flights per week from Oslo to Bangkok and another three flights from Stockholm. Of the total international travel, 17,3 million traveled by scheduled airlines and a little more than 200,000 passengers traveled by charter – a decrease of -12% compared with 2013. The planned charter volume to Thailand for the next winter program WI15/16 (period Nov 2015- Mar 2016) is expected to reduce further by approx -12% (approx 9,700 pax.)

The average growth of high end market (by their annual income) from Scandinavia to Thailand during 2008-2013: Sweden and Denmark show a growth of +17% while Norway tops the list with +24%. FIT travellers have the highest share, with 91% for Norway, 89% for Sweden and 86% for Denmark (in 2013.)

Changes in tourist behaviour include the fact that prices control decision – more people choose to travel as FIT and search for the best price, which leads to deciding the destination. It has been noted that Swedish tourists make the longest length of stay at 19.5 days which is the highest of all the nationalities; paradoxically, the longer they stay may cause less spending each day – at 3855,74 THB per day, it is the lowest amongst the Scandinavian group.

In a SWOT analysis, the weak points from the Scandinavian market for Thailand were perceived to be: very long flying time; air fare on this sector is much higher than to popular European destinations; congestion at Phuket airport; too many traffic accidents; negative PR with an image of mass tourism; popular destinations losing exotic appeal; no comfort zone for tourists at the beaches; lack of professional guides, and obstacles in foreign language therefore interpretation issues.

Destination preferences remain the traditional beach destinations such as Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, HuaHin, Koh Chang, Rayong and Cholburi, while non-beach destinations include Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Udon Thani in the east is quite popular among the Norwegians, with a record of 24-days per trip.