The impact of COVID-19 might linger long after the pandemic ends as stakeholders in tourism, one of the hardest-hit sectors, brace for a major shift in customer behaviour and preferences after the dust settles. As lockdowns begin to ease in parts of the world, consumers are starting, slowly but surely, to plan trips and make bookings.
Expedia, one of the world’s leading full-service online travel brands, will join forces with Tourism Authority of Thailand to support and advocate for traveler health and safety through a series of domestic and international marketing initiatives, under TAT’s Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Scheme. The announcement was made during a second joint virtual industry seminar on ‘Thailand’s COVID-19 travel and tourism strategies’ series – The Path to Recovery organized by Expedia Group, TAT and Thai Hotels Association (THA), and attended by more than 1000 Thai hoteliers in Bangkok.
Speaking at the virtual industry seminar, Ang Choo Pin, Senior Director, Government and Corporate Affairs, Asia, Expedia Group said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has created a ‘new normal’ and significantly changed the way our travelers are going to be planning and experiencing the world. Health and safety remain a priority and the availability of coherent cleanliness and hygiene plans will play an important role in driving people’s decisions to travel”.
Appetite for travel among Thai travelers
As people get used to the new normal, tourists might also prefer to go to quieter places and opt for nature-based tourism and outdoor activities. Expedia recently announced search results from its www.expedia.co.th platform which showed that seven out of the top 10 destinations searched by Thais were mostly in Thailand, with destinations such as Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya being most popular.
Thailand also remains top of mind among international travelers. Destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket remain among the top-most searched destinations among travelers from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India. Beyond Asia, the Italians and the French are searching for Phuket and Koh Samui as a likely holiday destination early next year.
“Expedia is extremely proud to be the first online travel partner to support a national initiative through TAT’s Safety and Health Administration Scheme. As part of this collaboration, we aim to build awareness of the SHA and promote its Safe Travel campaign to Thailand among our customers and travelers around the world”, added Choo Pin.
“The SHA scheme ensures Thai tourism operators are prepared for the return of tourism post-Covid-19. It provides confidence in Thailand as a safe destination. The global support by travel brands like Expedia to promote our national safety and hygiene campaign to global travelers is an important milestone for TAT, and will set the stage in building confidence in travel again,” said Khun Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.