Ground transportation bookings have increased by 123% month on month in Thailand since 11 October.
New data from ground transportation platform Bookaway shows bookings in Thailand have increased by 123% month on month since the reopening announcement on 11 October, compared with 43% in September and 22% in August.
Bookaway predicts a continued month on month increase in bookings, as the country reopens today to vaccinated tourists, with 70% of bus, ferry and rail operators expected to be operational again by December 2021.
The percentage growth in bookings since the 11 October announcement from the first countries cleared for entry are:
- France 350%
- Germany 300%
- UK 300%
- Rest of world 100%
- Thailand 89%
- North America 33.33%
According to Bookaway and 12Go’s combined booking share, tourists are confident to travel across the country, with its most popular transport routes being Bangkok to Chiang Mai (5.27%), Bangkok to Pattaya (5.20%), and Koh Phangan to Koh Samui 5.01%.
In the last 21 days, Bookaway’s bookings lead time has changed dramatically, particularly from Ireland Portugal and the US. Traditionally customers book 2-7 days in advance but it’s now averaging at 23-24 days. This data shows that most tourists are likely to arrive from mid-November. The longest advanced booking is 128 days, booking as far ahead as March. This data suggests a change in traveller behaviour, with an increase of forward planning and booking ahead, which will give the industry useful information to use in preparation.
Noam Toister, CEO and founder of Bookaway, says that the 2021 high season for Thai tourism is “critical” for the ground transportation industry. With no government support, many local operators have survived by adapting the use of their vehicles for cargo, or even growing vegetables, but these short-term tactics are not lucrative in the long term.
He said: “Unfortunately, many of our key historical operators were forced to close and hundreds of jobs were lost, however, there is now a real sense of optimism and hope. They are looking forward to reopening and have got all their staff fully trained and vaccinated in preparation.
“We are working with operators and suppliers daily to reopen safely without decline and for them to operate profitably. They have been waiting a long time and are ready to get going - they are conscious that it’s vital they provide great service.”
Thailand is prepared and optimistic – case study:
On-the-ground insights reveal that many Thai travel professionals, although devastated by the pandemic, have used their downtime to build their skills, ready to compete for customers when the borders reopen.
The majority of Bookaway’s ground transport operators are family-run businesses, who rely on tourism to survive, including Krabi Sea Pearl - which has been operating only for private transfers due to domestic demand for Krabi and Koh Lanta not recovering as strongly as expected.
Khun Pai, owner of Krabi Seal Pearl transfer company, says: “To make sure we recover from the pandemic, we want to make transportation much easier for travellers and provide better connection from city to city. We’ll provide accurate information for your travels, take care of your needs and help in any way we can. Thai people welcome all travellers!”
Bookaway data shows 83% of the current searched-for routes in Thailand have at least one or more ground transport operators available for customers to book [data correct on 28 October 2021]. Currently 70% of Bookaway’s operators are open, and this will rise to 73% by 1 December 2021 in line with more countries gaining access in November, the alcohol ban being lifted in December, and to catch the wave of new year tourism.