Our first country spotlight of 2018 takes us to Thailand, whose capital, Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world.  With a booming travel economy, growth in the direct sales markets, and a strong gig economy, Thailand is a prime market for Transpay partners looking to expand into Southeast Asia.

Travel Industry

In 2016, Bangkok welcomed over 21 million visitors according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index and as of September 2017, was poised to take the number one spot for the second year in a row.

Vacation rentals play an important role in Thailand’s tourism market, as recent data from AirBnB estimates the entire APAC villa rental market of approximately 9,000 rental villas to account for $390 million of the $120 billion vacation rental market.  In Thailand specifically, Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya accounted for approximate $85 million in 2017.

Infographic: The World's Most Visited Cities In 2016  | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Direct Selling

Thailand ranks as number 13 in the Direct Selling Network’s list of billion dollar markets and as of early 2017, was showing strong growth.  According to Thai Direct Selling Association (TDSA) President Suchada Theeravachirakul, this growth can be attributed in part because of a “business model that allows young people to be successful entrepreneurs, a wide range of products and process, and digital technology.”   According to Euromonitor International’s 2016 report on Direct Selling in Thailand Amway is the number one direct seller in Thailand, with over one million active members.  Major products include consumer healthcare water purifiers, home care, beauty products and cosmetics. A local company, Better Way, owns the Mistine brand of cosmetics and is one of the leaders in the direct selling cosmetics market.  Sustained growth in this market will depend on a focus on technological innovation, social media in particular, according to the Euromonitor report.

Gig Economy

The Economic Intelligence Center is a unit of Siam Commercial Bank that has been established to offer economic outlook on business in Thailand.  In their recent research series on the perks of being a gig worker, the EIC shares survey results from 9,387 responses which indicate that that the gig population makes up as much as 30% of the total workforce in Thailand. Popular gig work includes freelancers (a range from gardeners and coffee baristas to doctors, graphic designers, lawyers etc.), business owners, online merchants, and stock investors.


Encouraging a Cashless Society

The government of Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and commercial banks have been encouraging a move to a cashless society.  This includes encouraging adoption of e-payment between merchants and consumers via credit/debit, mobile banking and E-wallets.  The reasoning behind this push two-fold, lowering the cost of transactions and cash management, an estimated THB 125 billion per year as estimated by Visa and also to keep pace with the rest of Asia’s major cities are making similar moves.

As Thailand moves toward this cashless future, Transpay offers partners a great opportunity to offer local bank transfers to travel suppliers and hosts, direct selling partners, and gig economy workers among others, easily enabling cashless transactions from credit/debit and mobile banking.  We offer same-to-next day transfer of payment, in US Dollars or Thai baht, directly to a local bank accounts.

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