TL;DR Due to the huge tourism imbalance, Thailand MNOs enjoy a huge surplus of data with the rest of Asia’s MNOs, which they can sell with a low cost travel SIM.

Howmuch.net published a great graphic on tourism spending which shows the top countries where tourism dollars are spent.  Here’s what they found:

Top 10 Tourist Destinations by Money Spent

DestinationMoney Spent in Destination
United States 🇺🇸$214 billion
Spain 🇪🇸$74 billion
France 🇫🇷$67 billion
Thailand 🇹🇭$63 billion
United Kingdom 🇬🇧$52 billion
Italy 🇮🇹$49 billion
Australia 🇦🇺$45 billion
Germany 🇩🇪$43 billion
Japan 🇯🇵$41 billion
China 🇨🇳$40 billion

To give some perspective on what this means fro the country, lets compare this spending as a percent of GDP:

The Top 10 Tourist Destinations by Money Spent as a percent of GDP

DestinationTourist spending as a % of GDP
Thailand 🇹🇭12.2%
Spain 🇪🇸5.1%
Australia 🇦🇺3.2%
France 🇫🇷2.4%
United Kingdom 🇬🇧1.8%
Italy 🇮🇹2.4%
 United States 🇺🇸1.0%
Germany 🇩🇪1.0%
Japan 🇯🇵0.8%
China 🇨🇳0.4%

There are of course some island nations with a large part of their GDP from tourism.

Top Destinations by Money Spent as a percent of GDP

DestinationTourist spending as a % of GDPCountry GDP
Jamaica 🇯🇲18.6%$16 billion
Bahamas 🇧🇸22.6%$13 billion
Mauritius 🇲🇷16.4%$12 billion
Barbados 🇧🇧19.2%$5 billion
Maldives 🇲🇻52.2%$5 billion

While these island nations are earning heavily form tourism, it is interesting to note how much is spent in Thailand in comparison. Tourism spending in Thailand is larger than the GDP of Jamaica, Bahamas, Mauritius, Bahamas, Maldives, Fiji and Barbados combined!

Additionally we can take in to account the lower cost of goods and services in Thailand. Spending $1,000 in US, UK or Spain is much easier to do than spending $1,000 in Thailand. Bangkok has a cost of living index of 56.76, while Paris is 85.4 and New York is at 100.   Spain sits in the mid 50s, so comparable to Thailand.

The bottom line is that the country of Thailand dominates inbound tourism.  And what do tourists in Thailand demand besides wooden frogs and elephant pants?

Mobile DATA!

AIS, True and DTAC, the major Thai Telcos,  are serving up terabytes of mobile data to all the inbound travelers so they they can share their photos on Instagram and WeChat.

Instagram photos from Thailand demand data:

🇫🇷 Big Buddha est le temple le plus visité de Koh Samui. Malgré cela, il possible de prendre une photo de ce style. Ce temple est très facile d’accès en scooter, comme quasiment tout sur cette île 😁
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🇬🇧 Big Buddha is the most visited temple in Koh Samui. Despite this, it is possible to take a style photo. This temple is very easy to access by scooter, like almost everything on this island.
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#kohsamui #kohsamuiisland #kohsamuithailand #kohsamui🌴 #templethailand #templethailande #thailandtrip #thailandtravel #thailand🇹🇭 #voyageursdumonde #voyageur #voyageurs #voyagesolo
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The curvy road through Lonely Beach village, shot this morning, on Koh Chang. 📸🏞
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Feature: thailandInsider fatal.frames
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#kohchang
#earthpix
#earth_shotz
#tropical
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#amazingthailand
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#igthailand
#thailandia
#thaistagram
#thailandtravel
#thailandonly
#thailande
#mathailande
#artofvisuals
#thaitraveling
#thailand_vacations
#thailandtrip
#ThailandInsider
#thailandinstagram
#FatalFrames10k
#visitthailand
#tourismthailand
#thailandtravels
#streetleaks
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In love with Thailand ❤ NEW : Stop wasting money on your hotels bookings in Thailand ☺ Visit unlimitedthailand.com☺ Best price guaranteed and up to 80% discount☺ Direct link in bio ❤ Congratulations to eljackson for the picture ☺Tag your best photos of #Thailand with #unlimitedthailand ❤ #amazingthailand #thailand_allshots #thailandluxe #thailande #thailand_ig #thailandonly #thailand2020 #tailandia #thalandia #thailandtrip #thailandinsider #thailandinstagram #ilovethailand #thaistagram #thailandsky #igthai #igthailand #ig_thailandia #igersthailand #loves_thailand #loves_united_thailand #thaiphotographer #insta_thailand #thailandhotel #hotelthailand #adayinthailand #vscothailand ...

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Follow👆
📍Location: Phi Phi Islands 📷Photo by: wladimirolguin

#Thailand #1000amazingplaces #sea #tropical #tropicalvibes #island #visit #trip #instatrip #daytrip #tripadvisor #trips #phiphi #phiphiisland #phiphiislands #kohphiphi #amazingthailand #thailandonly #thailandia #travelthailand #igthailand #thailandinstagram #thailand_ig #thaitraveling #tourismthailand #thailandtrip #lovethailand #thai_igers #visitthailand
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Wait, how does this relate to the SIM2Fly travel sim?

Imagine a 10 Chinese travelers coming to Thailand for every 1 Thai person going to China.   That means China Mobile needs to provide 10 customers with say 10 GB of data in Thailand.   The first option is that China Mobile buys 10 GB of data from the Thai Telco.  Let’s say the cost is $10.  So China Mobile needs to send Thai Mobile $10.   Except we have one Thai in China, needing $1 of data.  The net result is $9 flowing into Thai Mobile. By receiving this $9, the Thai Mobile is exposed to taxes and forex changes. What about an easier, less conspicuous way?

The other way to handle this transfer is for China Mobile and Thai Mobile to just exchange Gigabytes.  In the above example after the exchange, Thai Mobile gets 10 GB to use on China Mobile network, and China Mobile gets 10 GB to use on Thai Mobile network.   Exchanging GBs is quite straight forward, with no cash exchange, just some quick entries on a database.

The problem for Thai Mobile then is an excess of unused Gigabytes on China Mobile and the rest of countries.  So how to recoup some earnings from these overseas GBs?  Sell a product domestically that is competitively priced and makes it easy to get in the hands of as many Thai outbound travelers as possible.  In making this product hover, Thai Mobile also realized it had a lower price than similar offerings from other countries.

Thailand’s unique position

Telcoms in Thailand sit at a unique position in that lots of other Telcos want an allocation with them so their subscribers can seamlessly visit Thailand.  It’s for this reason that Thailand would have some of the best out bound roaming products at the best pricing.