As foreign visitor numbers experience a drop in Thailand, affecting workers across the travel and hospitality industry, OYO is encouraging Thai travelers to look to home destinations to help support the local tourism industry.
It is predicted that foreign tourist numbers will fall by 14 million,1 which could lead to lost revenue of up to 500 million baht.2 It is also estimated that Covid-19 will cause widespread disruption and could take up to 10 months for the tourism sector to return to its normal levels once the pandemic is over.
“While air travel is curtailed and international travel is limited, Thailand’s important tourism sector is taking the brunt of the impact. However, this is an opportune time for local attractions and hoteliers to stimulate interest in the area among Thai travelers. Visiting areas of Thailand you are unfamiliar with helps travelers discover more about their home country, while also supporting local communities,” said Guruprasad Sankaranarayanan, Country Head of OYO Thailand.
Once travel restrictions are lifted, Thais will be able to travel within the country, and spending their money at home is the right choice for many reasons, as it shows solidarity with fellow Thais by keeping money within the local economy.
Domestic tourism will remain accessible to many in Thailand, and the Thailand Tourism Council has already launched their ‘We Love Thailand’ campaign to stimulate people to travel after restrictions are lifted.4 Late 2019 also saw successful local tourism campaign such as ‘Visit Thailand With 100 Baht’ and ‘Shocking Price Weekday Travel’, each bringing new visitors to local communities around Thailand.
“We can step up efforts to enhance the uniqueness of each locale, embracing our well-known One Tambon One Product movement and getting to learn about places in Thailand that you’ve never been to while supporting local communities and their unique products,” added Guruprasad.
Domestic focus has already begun in China as it cautiously restarts non-essential sectors like tourism. Research shows as many as 90% of those ready to travel wanting to start domestically, as experts point to safety fears and the desire to be near the security of home as driving forces in consumer decisions. At the same time, independent travel is preferred, with travelers avoiding large tour groups and cruises and opting for hotels offering flexibility to amend bookings.5