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HOME // Phuket Travel // Agoda says Thailand needs better attractions in the post-Covid travel world

Agoda says Thailand needs better attractions in the post-Covid travel world

Phuket Andamanda Water Theme Park
Phuket Andamanda Water Theme Park

“Thailand ranked among the top three choices for travellers from 98 different countries, and it claimed the number one spot for visitors from 39 countries.”

During a media briefing on Thursday, Agoda CEO Omri Morgenshtern emphasised the need for Thailand to expand its offerings beyond just vacations and parties in order to elevate the country’s tourism industry to new heights. He provided an overview of the Asia Pacific tourism industry for the first five months of the year, drawing insights from data obtained through Agoda’s extensive online booking platform.

Agoda started in Singapore and Phuket in 2005 and is now one of the world’s largest OTA (Online Travel Agents).

The data unveiled a remarkable recovery and growth across cities and countries in the region, surpassing pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. Based on Agoda’s data, Japan emerged as the most popular destination, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and then South Korea.

Thailand ranked among the top three choices for travellers from 98 different countries, and it claimed the number one spot for visitors from 39 countries, including China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos, during the first five months of the year.

Moreover, Thailand emerged as the preferred destination in Asia for tourists from Germany, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa and Sweden.

Morgenshtern, who has been residing in Thailand for over nine years, expressed his belief that Thailand is “an outstanding vacation destination” but acknowledged the need for improvements to attract more visitors.

Drawing a comparison to Japan, he noted that Japan’s international recognition stems from its extensive trade and investment activities. He also said that Japan boasts a wide range of high-end attractions, including world-class theme parks.

When asked about how Thailand can entice more tourists, Morgenshtern esays the importance of offering a broader range of activities beyond typical tourist attractions. Ultimately, he emphasised the significance of increasing the number of visitors, as a higher influx of tourists directly correlates with a more positive impact on the country’s revenue.

Morgenshtern further suggested that boosting the popularity of Bangkok can ultimately aid in promoting Thailand’s secondary cities. He explained that value extends beyond price and encompasses the intrinsic value of a city itself. As an example, he highlighted Khon Kaen, an inexpensive city in northeastern Thailand, which houses a dinosaur museum that could serve as a rare gem to attract international tourists, especially families.

In parallel, Agoda is heavily investing in technological upgrades.

The company is contemplating the integration of fintech features into its platform this year to enhance booking and payment flexibility for customers. Through its backend technology, Agoda intends to facilitate reservation cancellations by finding suitable replacements for cancelled rooms. Additionally, the platform plans to introduce a price-freeze feature and premium customer support.

Morgenshtern also revealed Agoda’s interest in leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance both the user interface and backend systems. Agoda’s engineering teams are actively developing AI capabilities to automate various functions and services.

Morgenshtern proposed that Bangkok should strive to become Asia’s Silicon Valley, as he sees great potential in the capital. However, he acknowledged that more work is needed for Bangkok to realize its full potential. By transforming into a technology hub, Bangkok could not only attract new groups of visitors to the country but also gain global recognition through a diverse array of events and activities.

Since its establishment in 2002, Agoda has experienced significant growth, expanding to encompass over 3 million hotels and rental homes across more than 200 markets. The company boasts a workforce of 6,600 employees operating in 52 offices worldwide. In 2022, Agoda ranked as the fourth most downloaded application globally, with 21 million downloads, according to Apptopia.

Agoda operates as a subsidiary of Booking Holdings, a conglomerate comprising six major brands, including Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline.com and Kayak. Booking Holdings achieved gross travel bookings worth $121.3 billion in the previous year, generating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation

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