Inbound tourism in 2020 faces a daunting prospect, which affects the number of international tourists and their spending. The market lacks new factors while risks remain and have even worsened. For example, the gloomy global economic sentiment could discourage the international travelers' activities, heightening competition among the tourist destination countries to attract these globe trotters. In addition, there will be two world-class sports events in 2020, namely, the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship (EURO 2020) and the Summer Olympics in Japan. These two massive events may affect the inbound tourist numbers to Thailand, especially holidaymakers from Europe and Japan during the months when these games take place. Additionally, close attention should be paid to the situation in the Middle East and the direction of oil prices.
KResearch estimates that, in 2020, the number of foreign tourists in Thailand will be around 40.5-40.9 million, up 2.0 -3.0 percent, which is the slowest pace of increase in six years. The growth will be evident in only certain markets such as those from nearby countries in Asia, while tourist numbers from other regions such as Europe, Oceania and the Middle East are expected to drop.
Regarding international tourist spending, due to an unfavorable economic environment, the international tourists' tendency to pay attention to new experiences rather than shopping, the stronger competition in the accommodation business, shorter stay of tourists and the fact that a majority of inbound travelers are from nearby countries, KResearch projects that the tourist receipts from international travelers will be around 1.97 - 1.99 trillion Baht, an increase of approximately 1.4 - 2.5 percent from 2019.
At the same time, the hospitality businesses will encounter a more difficult test in their tourism marketing planning because they will have to carefully manage costs and avoid the looming price war. They should penetrate the emerging niche markets in the tourism industry and incorporate technology to support their marketing campaigns.