Women now make up 52% of visitors to Thailand
Female tourists outnumber male tourists to Thailand for the first time in large part due to the large numbers of Chinese women traveling to the country. Tourism figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports showed that of the more than 32 million visitors to the Kingdom in 2016, 52 percent were women. In 2015 48 percent of visitors were women and in 2012 only 42 percent. The government launched a Women’s Journey campaign last year working to attract women to the country’s spas, hotels, malls, and restaurants with discounts from an app and the website. However, the numbers are in large part due to the increased numbers of Chinese women traveling; the number of Chinese women visiting the country has quadrupled since 2012 as families travel more. A major Chinese travel website, Tuniu, reported that 62 percent of its customers last year were women according to Chinese media. Even countries that have skewed more heavily towards male tourists in the past are seeing growing numbers of women tourists, such as Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the United States.
Medical and wellness tourism to Thailand is growing, in part due to a new visa extension allowing citizens from Asian countries here for treatment to stay up to 90 days; now citizens from Japan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal as well as China, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar can extend their visas up to 90 days for medical treatment. The number of international medical tourists to Thailand is predicted to reach 2.4 million while an additional 900,000 expatriates are expected to visit hospitals. The number of wellness tourists to Thailand grew 7 percent annually from 2013 – 2015 and accounts for 3 percent of the GDP. Wellness tourists tend to spend more during their trips than the average tourist, spending on average 61 percent more.
In a study of 209 countries by global payout solution provider Hyperwallet, Thailand came in 34th out of 36 countries in attractiveness as an online global marketplace. The company analyzed ten key factors including infrastructure, e-commerce activity, and foreign competition and workforce to select 36 countries out of 209, as targets for expansion. Thailand made it into the top 36 in the Evolving Countries category as some policies and regulations still remain undefined. However, Thailand showed strongly in having a large freelance workforce and new banking regulations should make it easier to accept a wide variety of payment options. Other countries in the evolving category include Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Chile.
Exports rose 12.2 percent year on year in September to US$21.8 billion, in part due to strong demand for rubber, sugar, and frozen and processed poultry according to the Commerce Ministry. Export revenue for the first nine months of 2017 also rose to a six-year high of US$170 billion 9.3 percent higher than the same period last year. Imports over the first nine months of this year also expanded growing 14.8 percent to US$160 billion, resulting in a surplus of US$12 billion.