It’s not often I answer a question with a question but when I’m asked How much money do I need to spend in Thailand my usual response is How long is a piece of string, but having recently stumbled upon an article on the Thailand Business News website I am now armed with enough statistical information to at least give that very broad scoped question some kind of reply.
The post on Thailand Business News dissects a report from Thailand’s Immigration Bureau which lists the amount of European tourists who visited the Land of Smiles in 2010. The report states there was a total of 15.84 million worldwide visitors to Thailand last year of which 4,341,447 arrivals were from Europe. The article then breaks down each country’s total visitors and their average daily expenditure per day in the Kingdom.
Below is a list of the top five European countries in terms of total visitors to Thailand in 2010 with their average daily expenditure in US dollars and Thai baht alongside. The report quotes daily spending only in US dollars but I have used a conversion rate of 30 baht to one dollar in order to represent Thai baht as well.
|United Kingdom||818,303||$108.37||3,251 THB|
Those figures show tourists from Europe’s top five visiting countries to Thailand spend on average just over 3,000 – 3,600 baht each day they stay in the Kingdom. However it doesn’t answer the question as to whether their expenditure includes hotels too, though the online article does give out a big clue.
Russians may top the spending charts but out of the ‘Big Five’ they trail a long way behind in terms of individual travellers to Thailand. My interpretation of individual travellers (the article’s terminology) is those tourists who arrive in Thailand on self-tailored holidays and not package ones which include pre-booked accommodation. Most individual travellers tend to book their accommodation on arrival or at best have a hotel pre-booked for the first two or three days of their stay. This allows them much more flexibility to chop and change their holiday plans but also eats into their holiday budget too.
The United Kingdom headed the individual travellers list with a score of 94% from their 818,303 Thailand tourists in 2010. They were closely followed by Sweden (93%), Germany (92%) and France (90%). Russia trailed way behind with 56%, making their daily expenditure appear more impressive with so many of them not having to pay out for hotel accommodation from their average daily allowance.
Of course there are many different factors to weigh up when deciding your own holiday budget but on a personal note I set an allowance of 3,000 baht a day for my visits to Thailand. However my set budget does not include internal flights, hotels or car rental, although they are expenses which apart from hotels, not all tourists would normally incur.
Thailand is still a relatively cheap holiday destination but most people when they travel abroad find the urge to splurge their cash irresistable. There is a compulsion to wine and dine too much and Thailand’s shopping malls and markets are a great temptation too. Add in day tours to places of interest and your holiday budget can soon start to appear stretched.
Lifestyle, location and standard of accommodation are some of the factors which can make or break a holiday budget and location is probably the biggest factor of all.
I feel comfortable with my daily allowance in provincial cities like Udon Thani and also tourist hotspots such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai but feel 3,000 baht a day is sailing too close to the wind in certain locations throughout tourist Thailand. I would require more resources in Bangkok, Hua Hin and a holiday island such as Phuket. Having a limit of only 3,000 baht a day in those three tourist spots would bring me out in a cold sweat.
How about you. What figure would you put to a tourist’s daily expenditure in Thailand, or would you simply throw life’s proverbial ball of string at such an impossible question.
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