Foreign travelers have become the driving force behind a boom in the Kingdom’s secondary tourism destinations, an online travel agency says
Statistics show that nearly 90% of the demand for stays in Chiang Rai, Koh Lipe, Mae Hong Son, Trang and Trat came from international travelers in the 12 months to the end of the second quarter of 2018, online platform Expedia said. It said the pace of overall inbound demand to these destinations has grown by 30% year on year.
A closer look at the inbound trends by destination showed that Trat was the most popular destination among the five, seizing nearly half of the overall inbound demand, followed by Koh Lipe and Chiang Rai. While Trat and Koh Lipe each experienced inbound growth of 20% year on year, it was Chiang Rai that led the chart with 60% growth. During the same period, Mae Hong Son and Trang enjoyed a healthy year-on-year growth above 40%. Dotted with islands, beaches and forests, Trat and Trang were particularly popular among European travelers. Swedish, German and Danish travelers made up nearly 40% of the overall international demand in these destinations.
They also booked on average of 71 days in advance before they travel (25 days earlier than average booking window), paid 15% more than the average daily rate (ADR), and stayed five days per trip (1.3 times longer than average length of stay). Hence, this makes them an attractive source of demand for hotel partners. Up north, blessed by the historical charm of Wat Rong Khun, with mountainous trails and hill tribes, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son proved to be more appealing to Asian travelers. Almost half of the inbound demand originated from Indonesia, China, Japan and South Korea. However, when it comes to the high-value spenders, it was the US and UK travelers that fueled the steady ADR growth in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai, with a positive growth of 10% and more than 5% year-on-year, respectively.
These long-haul travelers also tend to book for accommodation 25 days to 35 days in advance. Among the five destinations, Koh Lipe recorded the highest ADR, thanks to its white-sand islands, coral reefs and tropical forests. While the inbound demand was led by Sweden, travelers from the US demonstrated strong growth momentum (40% year on year), coupled with positive ADR growth (under 10% year on year). Data from the Expedia Group also confirmed that the American travelers were more generous than Swedish visitors, as they typically paid 20% more on accommodation than their Swedish counterparts.
Travelers from the UK proved to be another valuable source for revenue growth, as they were the only long-haul travelers that contributed a double-digit ADR growth (10% year on year) to Koh Lipe during the same period.
– The Nation