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Thais do not travel much in their country because the sites they want to visit are too crowded, while tourism operators prefer to welcome foreigners, according to a government poll.

The poll found the top five provinces Thais would not revisit are Chon Buri (Bang Saen and Pattaya), Bangkok (Dusit Zoo, Siam Center and department stores), Sa Kaeo (Rong Kluer Market), Rayong (Ban Pae), and Samut Prakan (Crocodile Farm and Zoo).

The poll was conducted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) from Feb 4-8 on 1,200 respondents, of which 50.9% are female.

The top five preferred destinations were Phuket (Laem Phromthep), Chiang Mai (Doi Suthep and Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium), Phetchabun (Khao Kho), Krabi (Separated Sea), and Saraburi (Jed Sao Noi Waterfall).

Some 80.4% of the respondents still preferred to travel in Thailand rather than abroad because of good value-for-money prices and the environment, while 19.6% prefer to travel overseas to have new experiences and learn different cultures.

Some 64.8% have no plans to travel this year, while the balance already planned their trips. More than 50% like to travel by themselves and 31.1% will use tour operators.

Another 46.9% of respondents were unaware of the TAT’s website (, while 45.1% visited the site sometimes, and 8% visited often.

Pongsathorn Kessasamli, TAT’s deputy governor for policy and planning, said the authority plans to find some strategies to draw Thais to its website because it contains useful information.

“We will work with tour operators to find ways to serve tourist demand as well as to promote the website so more Thais find useful information on where to travel,” he said.

Thanavath Phonvichai, research director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting at UTCC, said tour operators should have a business network for tourism sites and airports instead of focusing on Bangkok.

“We need to change the perception of Thais that believe package tours are more expensive than making a trip on their own,” said Mr Thanavath.

(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: A Canadian tourist riding an elephant in Pattaya, Thailand. Leo Phung / Flickr