Despite a slow resumption of seat capacity, most Thai travellers still sought air tickets on online platforms, while bookings to Thailand gained following the pandemic, according to online travel agents.
Caesar Indra, president of Traveloka, said air ticket bookings was the service Thais primarily used on its platform, with tourists tending to seek less popular destinations, which was a trend observed across many Asian markets.
He said inbound flight bookings to Thailand surged by five times during the first half of this year compared with the corresponding period last year.
However, the resumption of international flights this year was slower than expected as the aviation industry in many countries faced staff shortages, attempting to lure workers back after they lost their jobs during the pandemic.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), international revenue-passenger kilometres for Asia-Pacific air traffic rose 98.5% in August year-on-year, but were still 24.5% lower than the corresponding period in 2019, marking the slowest recovery among all regions.
In terms of seat capacity in Asia-Pacific, international available seat kilometres in August lagged the tally in 2019 by 25.8%.
However, the average load factor for airlines in this region increased by 5.5 percentage points to 84.2%, which implies growing travel demand, according to IATA.
Mr Indra said Traveloka recorded 45 million monthly active users from 127 million application downloads since establishment 11 years ago.
He said the main trend following the pandemic was higher demand for accommodations with sustainable practices, as 80% of its customers preferred to book certified sustainable lodging, according to a Traveloka customer survey this year.
However, 43% of hotels listed on the platform lack sustainability certification, especially from well-known sources such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which can cater to growing demand, said Mr Indra.
Rezio, a travel booking system under the Taiwan-based KKday Group, issued its travel trends and consumer insights report based on data collection from 2020 to the first half 2023.
The company found a two-fold increase in Thailand’s travel bookings compared with 2019.
In terms of destinations, Japan was the top country for Asian tourists, with a 30% increase in bookings from foreign tourists after Japan’s borders reopened.
South Korean tourists took the most outbound trips, with their top destinations Japan and Taiwan.