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Thailand's online ticket sales face slump
Publication Date : 26-08-2013
Consumer spending on travel is in danger of being impacted by the Thai recession, dampening the online air-ticketing business early next year, according to CheapTickets, an agent under Netherlands-based Travix.
Sampan Tosawang, country manager of Airtrade Travel (Thailand), a subsidiary of Travix, said last week that online air-ticketing sales in the rest of this year should not be hit much after key economic indicators were released, as trips have been planned with air tickets already booked. "But, we can see signs of a slowdown in online air-ticket sales in the last two months of the year, which is when consumers book for travel in next year's first half," he said.
The Thai economy has been in the spotlight for technically slipping into a recession after GDP in the second quarter contracted for the second month in a row. According to the Bank of Thailand's reports, GDP in the second quarter shrank by 0.3 per cent and in the first quarter by 1.7 per cent on quarter.
However, the online air-ticket market in Thailand should continue growing despite the glum economic sentiment. People still want to travel except when there is a disease epidemic, which hits travel directly.
"I don't believe travellers will cancel their trips...in the worst case, they'll probably cut their spending by half or change their destination, for example."
In Thailand, CheapTickets found that the top five airlines booked most in the first half of this year were Thai Airways International, China Eastern, Bangkok Airways, Hong Kong Airlines and China Southern. The top five destinations were Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, London and Guangzhou.
The local online market still has room for growth. The Internet accounted for 15 per cent of total air ticket sales, while in Singapore it was 30 per cent. The main problems were that credit lines do not cover ticket fares and consumers lack confidence in online payments.
The agent was satisfied with double sales a year ago.
"We're keeping our target at double sales growth this full year. If we miss the target in the five months left because of any unprecedented event, our sales growth is expected to drop to 1.7-1.8 times," he said.
With a variety of routes offered and a simple method for booking, CheapTickets claims it is a leading online air-ticketing agent in Thailand even though it has operated here only 20 months.
With the strong network of its parent Travix, the agent can also offer better conditions in airfares than its rivals.
Travix is a subsidiary of BCD Holding, the world's largest tourism firm with global sales of US$22.8 billion last year.