Got travel plans for 2023 yet? A recent study by Visa has predicted the most popular destinations for Thai travellers, and unsurprisingly Japan tops the list. Read on to find out the how and why.

It’s almost a post-pandemic rite of passage. As more and more Thais flock to Japan, Visa unveils that in 2023, even more us will be flying out to the Land of the Rising Sun, as the digital payments leader has analysed post-pandemic travel trends, including where we like to head, why we like to head there, and for how long we stay. Read on to find out whether your holiday habits are normal — or maybe even abnormal.

The biggest travel trends for Thai travellers in 2023

most popular travel thai destinations 2023
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Post-pandemic travel concerns

The Thailand Travel Intentions Study 2023 Outbound Edition found that there are three main considerations for Thai travellers when they go abroad: the cost of travel, the weather, and the drive to explore new places. Nevertheless, the study comes at an interesting time, as countries are only just starting to fully reopen.

As Country Manager for Visa Thailand Pipayin Sodprasert notes, “the pandemic has created a pent-up demand and energy among Thai travellers to satisfy their hunger for travel after not being able to venture abroad for so long…We wanted to take a closer look at how Thai travellers are rediscovery their international destinations and navigating a world of uncertainty.”

What is certain and highly refreshing is that the barriers set up by the pandemic seem to be lessening. Only about one third of participants in the study were still concerned with the reopening policy of their preferred destination, and only one-fifth were worried about the pandemic when planning their trip.

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Key factors for Thai travellers

Beyond safety concerns, the study also looked into understanding the reasons for this new-found love for travel. The top three reasons pertain to exploring new places, spending more quality time with family and friends, and revisiting old favourite destinations. The biggest spending for Thai travellers goes towards good food (are we surprised?) And hassle-free service, as well as exotic destinations.

Interestingly, most Thai travellers like to organise the whole trip themselves, whilst around one-fifth likes to go on a flexible individual tour, and only 11% like to go on a packaged group tour.

For 2023, 53% of participants plan to take one trip, 31% plan to take two trips, and 11% plan to take three trips. The most popular length of stay is between five to seven days.

most popular travel thai destinations 2023
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Most popular destinations

Whilst it doesn’t take a genius to guess that Japan is the number one international travel destination for Thai travellers, the Top 10 ranking is an interesting one, with only 3 European countries on the list. Asia leads the way, and seeing that food culture is the leading reason for travel, it comes as no surprise that Japan and South Korea rank the highest. Intriguingly, even though Hong Kong is yet to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions, it still ranks within the Top 10 at number 9. The UK and the USA rank at No. 5 and No. 6. See the full list below.

Top 10 international destinations for Thai travellers in 2023

  1. Japan
  2. South Korea
  3. New Zealand
  4. Singapore
  5. United Kingdom
  6. USA
  7. Australia
  8. France
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Italy

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok