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Nation shuns target for visitor numbers


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#1 reader

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:28 PM

From Bloomberg News

 

Focus instead is on boosting daily spending and length of stay

 

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Thailand is now so popular for holidays that almost 35 million foreign tourists -- equivalent to half the country’s population -- are expected this year.

 

As the influx gets harder to manage, the government is shifting strategy. It’s now targeting a minimum increase in tourism revenue of about 5 percent annually instead of a particular number of visitors, Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said. That means encouraging longer stays and higher daily spending, a mix the typical Australian holidaymaker exemplifies, she said.

 

“Maybe they’re the ones who are like: this is my time -- I eat, I shop, and I eat, and I shop," Kobkarn, 56, said in an interview.

 

Australian visitors were among the top 10 biggest spenders in terms of per capita daily expenditure last year, forking out 5,831 baht ($172), Tourism Ministry data shows. Their average length of stay of almost 14 days was the highest in that group. Some nationalities take even longer holidays but tend to be more parsimonious. British tourists, for instance, stayed for just over 18 days on average while spending 4,376 baht daily.

 

“We no longer have a target for number of tourists,” she said. “We shouldn’t go beyond the limit that we can cope. But there’s no statistic on that yet. When people say that Phuket may be too crowded, or Bangkok is too crowded, we have to make sure that we are introducing new destinations too.”

 

Arrivals from overseas more than doubled in the past decade, powered by a surge in Chinese holidaymakers who contributed 28 percent of 1.6 trillion baht in foreign tourism receipts in 2016.

 

Quality doesn’t just mean targeting wealthy tourists as Thailand needs travelers on a variety of budgets, Kobkarn said. Instead, it refers to offering good value experiences that encourage return visits, increase the average length of stay and bolster daily spending per head, she said.

 

Even as Kobkarn tries to focus on revenue targets rather than visitor numbers, arrivals are projected to climb, whether drawn by the allure of white-sand beaches in resorts such as Krabi, the gastronomic delights of Bangkok or the perennially notorious sex capital Pattaya.

 

https://www.bloomber...egy-for-tourism



#2 santosh108

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 04:26 AM

Very interesting.  But I wonder, how do they get these statistics?



#3 samebb

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:04 AM

ATM Withdrawals? 
Currency Exchange?
CCVT Cameras in bars racially profiling people? 

Who knows. 

If you are not welcome, well. 
I am looking at Vietnam now. The next stage of my life is open, but if the Thai's don't want me, I will spend my money in another country. 



#4 reader

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:30 AM

Tabulate voluntary answers to the immigration card you submit upon arrival, review mega data on financial transactions and conduct random interviews at Swampy. While waiting for my return flight on last trip, I was approached by an pleasant, English-speaking young Thai woman who asked if I'd be willing to answer some questions about my visit.  She wasn't interested in any personal information (other than nationality) but was very interested in length of stay, how much I spent on airfare, daily accommodations, meals, purchases and activities (and yes, massages was among them along with cultural tours, local travel, and medical care).

 

The government is well-aware of why so many foreigners are choosing to visit the LOS. It's obviously very much interested in promoting the ways outside currencies enter the nation and not interested in taking actions that would reduce that flow.

 

It should come as no surprise that they see the value in extended stay, high-spending visitors. I see no difference in their objective than I do in that of other nations.

 



#5 1moRussian

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 06:56 PM

Strange data:
- people from Sri-Lanka spend as much as Australians?
- people from Egypt(!) spend more than Australians and near the same as from Singapore and Hong Kong?

Of course, there are wealthy people in every country, but how much rich Egyptians choose Buddhist Thailand? At least, should be arrivals or total spending mentioned.

#6 spoon

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 07:07 PM

Its jusy some statistic gathered by their gov. God knows what the real spending really is. And its really hard to trace spending of cash, so my take is most of the recorded spending has to be where it was done by card, or at places where it is required to show ID, like duty free shoppings only.

#7 vinapu

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 07:48 PM

73.84 % of statistics are made on the spot 



#8 reader

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 07:55 PM

Agree that it's hard to trace cash transactions but passport required when exchanging currencies or cashing TC's so authorities have a fairly good handle on who's converting how much to the baht.  ATM withdrawals from foreign banks are easily tracked. CC transactions provide a wealth of data about where foreigners are spending.

 

Rich Egyptians and other well-heeled Middle-Easterners probably choose the LOS for some of the same reasons we--and those of the other persuasion--do.

 

But we shouldn't neglect Benjamin Disraeli's take on stats:

 

   There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

 

 



#9 Alexx

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 10:48 PM

I have no problem believing that the average Egyptian who travels to Thailand is richer than the average Australian who travels to Thailand. Australia has a sizeable middle class, Egypt doesn't have one. In other words, only rich Egyptians can travel overseas, but your average Aussie can.

#10 1moRussian

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 12:20 AM

I have no problem believing that the average Egyptian who travels to Thailand is richer than the average Australian who travels to Thailand. Australia has a sizeable middle class, Egypt doesn't have one. In other words, only rich Egyptians can travel overseas, but your average Aussie can.


Yep, but the topic was about inbound travel industry in whole - how many those Egyptians come to Thailand and what are their total expenses (= income for Thailand)? At the same pic an average Chinese tourist beats an average Aussie as well :)
A bit wierd statistics, as I see it.

#11 Alexx

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 09:41 AM

Sure, as a group these Egyptian tourists don't spend a lot in Thailand, compared with visitors from other countries. But it might still make sense to focus some marketing efforts on them, maybe it's more profitable than marketing Thailand to the masses elsewhere.

That said, I don't doubt that these statistics are flawed. They've always been, for various reasons.

#12 PeterRS

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 10:24 AM

There can only be two ways of creating those statistics. The Immigration form gives no possible indication of how much an individual is likely to spend. It only provides detail to show the type of tourist visiting the Kingdom. But its one use is the TM number. For many tourists, the biggest single item of expenditure is hotel and its associated costs. Places of accommodation take copies of that TM form. I expect they will also have to send on to some authority actual expenditure related to that form on certain items like rooms, meals etc.

 

Since the average tourist never needs to show that TM card again (unless they have to visit a hospital for example), the only other way statistics can be measured is guesswork. And relying on guesswork is ridiculous! An Australian staying at the Mandarin Oriental might spend Bt.10,000 a night on accommodation and Bt. 4,000 on in hotel F&B. It might therefore be assumed hed spend another  Bt.8,000 a day on shopping, outside eateries etc. Yet another Australian might spend just Bt. 800 per night for accommodation but the same Bt.8,000 per day on boys, booze, meals and shopping. On the other hand he might be a bit of a skinflint and spend only Bt.3,000. How on earth can any statistics department know?



#13 ChristianPFC

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 02:24 PM

This statistic is almost meaningless. First, the differences are insignificant (6000 at the lower end and 7000 at the higher end). Second, various countries are missing: the US, GB, Germany, France, New Zealand, Malaysia, Russia (all countries that have significant numbers of tourists in Thailand). Third, you would have to multiply the numbers in the statistic by duration of stay by number of tourists from that country.



#14 Alexx

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 11:19 PM

Places of accommodation take copies of that TM form. I expect they will also have to send on to some authority actual expenditure related to that form on certain items like rooms, meals etc.


Many hotels only copy the picture page of the passport, others still get away with not copying anything. When a party of several guests checks in, it's not uncommon for the hotel to only get the details of one person. All that violates existing reporting requirements to a certain degree, but from having seen a list of reported stays for myself at immigration, I know that not even half of my hotel stays are in their system.

I'm not aware of any requirement to report income by guest. It certainly doesn't need to be reported to immigration, and my assumption is that information provided to the tax man doesn't routinely include these details either (i.e. they only get to see the individual receipts in case of an audit).

I wouldn't be surprised if there's an element of guesswork and surveys involved when compiling these statistics. Relying on surveys would be hilarious, as some nationalities are prone to overstating their expenditure while others tend to understate it... I know I've been surveyed by TAT girls before, but I don't recall if they wanted to know about my spending habits in detail.

#15 reader

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 11:55 PM

Agree that there's no fool-proof way to figure out exactly who's spending how much and on what activities. The most reliable gross spending indicator is the currency exchange transactions where passports are required.  So they know name and nationality of persons exchanging specific quantities of foreign currencies into Thai. 

 

There's a limited number of ways visitors pay for goods and services: Thai currency they brought into the country with them; currency they exchange into baht and credit card transactions. (The first is the lone unknown factor; the latter two are easily tabulated into how much visitors from nation X spent). Divide that amount by number of in-bound visitors from that nation during a given period and you come with with an average per person.  It's admittedly an imperfect number but it's useful in obtaining a snapshot.



#16 vinapu

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 05:54 AM

it may not be as difficult as we suspect.

 

I thought it is , in case somebody like me who always bring cash in USD , not even my  domestic currency and exchanges it in places they don't even ask for passport so  it may seem here's no way of finding how much I spent. BUT:

 

every trip I bust budget so at end take cash withdrawal.

 

Say on day 12 I took 7000 baht, than on my last day , 14th , I took another 7500. It can safely be assumed that cash withdrawal were taken on order to spend entirely so that in 3 days I spent  14500 baht , 4833 per day. It can be extrapolated that 14*4833 is what I spent during my trip. Length of trip  ( 14 days ) and nationality is known from immigration form.

 

And you know what?  Being confined at home today I had time to check   how accurate method would be for my last 4 trips. Easy since I keep kind of financial records for every , not just Thai , trip.   Surprise , surprise for 3 out of 4 last trips result was pretty close,  in case of last trip shockingly VERY close.

 

Numbers are invented because I don't want to start whole illegitimate son of Warren Buffet with Leona Helmsley  discussion ,  but discovery , while surprising to a degree,  is not.



#17 reader

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:00 AM

I believe that falls under the principle of "regression toward the mean" (technical way of saying that things tend to even out over time).

 

This discussion prompted me to consider one of my favorite topics--massage--as an instrument for explaining why (IMHO) why it's in the best interest of the Thai government to do nothing to discourage it.  Why? Because it provides for a transfer of wealth from the wealthier Thais and foreigners to the poorest members of Thai society, most of whom reside in the country's northeast quadrant.

 

Think about it.  A not insignificant portion of the tips provided end up supporting families that otherwise would have to rely wholly on agricultural income (or other manual labor).  Without the social programs most of us take for granted (i.e., ss, pensions, national health), there's no safety net to speak of. Tip income finds it way to the neediest without taxation or corruption that applies to other forms of wages.  OK, the shop may have to pay tea money and taxes in one form of another, but the tips themselves are, in effect, the perfect wealth transfer. 

 

Sure, some of it ends up in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but the lion's share stays at home. 

 

So when we hand over those tips, we're doing more good than we probably spend much time thinking about. And it beats writing a check to some NGO that first takes its bite before going on to do its particular form of "good."



#18 vinapu

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:59 AM

 

Sure, some of it ends up in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but the lion's share stays at home. 

 

 

even better as those countries are even poorer than Thailand



#19 steveboy

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 09:52 AM

This discussion prompted me to consider one of my favorite topics--massage--as an instrument for explaining why (IMHO) why it's in the best interest of the Thai government to do nothing to discourage it.  Why? Because it provides for a transfer of wealth from the wealthier Thais and foreigners to the poorest members of Thai society, most of whom reside in the country's northeast quadrant.

 

I also think that responsible sex tourism in a country like Thailand serves a social purpose.

 

Massage can be a conspicuous example because there is nothing basically immoral, illegal with it.  Happy endings are a private thing that is not at its core.  Consenting free sex in saunas and other encounters is also morally justifiable and it adds tourism money to the economy.  And the commercialization of sex is the most direct and probably the largest contribution of sex tourism to the population that needs the support.  I think all this is a legitimate reason of feeling good about these practices.

 

After all, in the "proper" society sex has also its social purpose.  Men work hard supporting a wife and children in something that started with sex.  Don't sociologists claim that sex is at the root of everything?  They probably didn't mean gay sex, but today this should be included. 



#20 Alexx

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:49 PM

I would be surprised if banks and currency exchange outfits report their individual transactions along with the passport details they've collected. The Bank of Thailand requires them to ask for ID, but they haven't imposed any such reporting requirement. Until that happens or cash is completely phased out, it's impossible to piece together a foreign visitor's total spendings in Thailand.




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