MasterCard: Thais ‘Top Tippers’

Thai consumers are the most generous on Asia-Pacific when it comes to tipping, overtaking Bangladesh and claiming the top spot, according a MasterCard study.

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Its April 7 research in 16 Asia-Pacific markets reveals how countries differ in the way they tip service in bars and restaurants.

The study is based on a survey conducted between October and November 2013 on 7,932 respondents aged 18-64 in 14 Asia-Pacific countries.

For Thailand in particular, the survey interviewed about 400 respondents. All of them had bank accounts but not all were MasterCard holders.

Thailand edged out last year’s leaders, Bangladesh, as the nation of top tippers, with 84% of the Thai respondents saying they always leave a tip.

People in Bangladesh appeared more frugal this year, with 80% saying they generally tipped compared with a high 88% at the same time last year.

Across the region, four in 10 consumers are accustomed to leaving a tip behind after a good meal in a restaurant, while in Thailand tipping is common among eight in 10 consumers.

Tipping appeared least common in Japan where a mere 4% of respondents said they were accustomed to leaving a tip behind.

South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand joined Japan in propping up the table with 10% of South Koreans, and 12% of Taiwanese and New Zealanders each claiming they tip regularly.

By gender, men (43%) appeared more inclined to leave behind a gratuity for service compared to women (36%).

Older consumers, aged 45 or more, were generally quicker to reach for their wallets, with 42% of people leaving tips behind, compared with 37% of people aged 18-29.

"Thais are very gracious and hospitable; they understand how to treat guests graciously.  And in the same vein, they value and show their appreciation of good service by tipping generously," said Georgette Tan, head of MasterCard's communications, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa group.

“Tipping in Asia can be confusing because the region holds diverse views towards the practice. Cultural nuances can make tipping a rule of thumb in some Asian markets, while in others it can be discouraged or even considered rude," she said.

“Of all the travel research MasterCard puts out, this survey of local residents gives us good insight into accepted practices, which helps keep tourists and foreigners in the know,” she said.

Table: Most consistent tippers in Asia-Pacific

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