VIETNAMESE travellers remain keen on visiting Thailand, with arrivals between January to May this year indicating that this source market will outdo its performance in 2012.
According to a Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) media release, 260,261 Vietnamese visited Thailand in the first five months of 2013, a 10.4 per cent year-on-year increase.
The rise in numbers flies in the face of Vietnam’s sluggish economy, which has instead encouraged the country’s travellers to seek out shorthaul holidays.
TAT said that Thailand was a popular destination for Vietnamese travellers due to its nearness, good value for money and variety of attractions.
Improved access options have also made getting to Thailand easier. Vietnamese LCC VietJet Air launched a Hanoi-Bangkok service in early June and Ho Chi Minh City-Bangkok service in February.
The opening of the second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong River at Savannakhet in Laos and Mukdahan in northeastern Thailand has also brought more overland tourist traffic from Vietnam’s central region, which comprises Hue, Danang and Quang Tri.
Thanik Khachonkittisakul, managing director of Thai tour operator Thai2020, said: “Our company has been receiving many Vietnamese tour groups from early this year, and we have plenty of future bookings till year’s end.
“Many are opting for the big-city shopping opportunities of Bangkok and the seaside entertainment atmosphere of Pattaya.”
He also shared that his company was receiving large incentive groups from Vietnam.