Thailand’s tourist arrivals increased 12.6 per cent year-on-year during the first 11 months of 2010 despite protests in Bangkok in April and May, which left 92 dead and parts of the capital in flames, tourism officials said Thursday.
According to preliminary data from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, international tourist arrivals in January to November rose to 14 million.
The ministry predicted that by the end of 2010, Thailand would have attracted 15.7 million to 15.8 million visitors, earning the country an estimated 19.3 billion dollars in revenues.
Key contributing factors to the growth of international visitor arrivals were as follows:
- Underlying strengths of the Thai tourism industry which facilitated a quick recovery to normalcy at the end of the April-May political crisis.
- The improved overall global economic conditions, in spite of the slower recovery in some regions.
- The TAT’s marketing recovery campaigns that facilitated a quick short-term recovery. The tactical and strategic campaigns included numerous activities at global travel trade shows and regional road shows, hard-sell marketing events, partnership with airlines and tour operators, and government-approved policy measures; such as, the tourist visa fee waiver, reduced aircraft landing and parking charges, etc.
The details of visitor arrival trends in January – November 2010:
EAST ASIA: Arrivals grew by 15.14% to 7.17 million. Arrivals from Malaysia, China, and Korea were up strongly though arrivals from Japan have slightly declined. Overall growth from the region is expected to remain strong, especially to popular Thai beach resorts.
EUROPE: Arrivals grew by 8.15% to 3.8 million. Countries that reported higher than 5% growth were Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Markets that did not do so well are UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Finland, and Belgium due to poor economic conditions.
THE AMERICAS: Arrivals grew by a fractional 0.18% to 758,902 due to the economic conditions. The main market, the US, declined by -1.40% to 549,722. Arrivals from Canada were down -0.92%. However, arrivals from Brazil returned to strong positive growth (16.76%).
SOUTH ASIA: Arrivals surged by a strong 22.78% to 903,663 with all markets doing well, except Pakistan which has been affected by flooding and domestic political issues. India, however, has become a primary market with arrivals up by 26.31% to 690,374, making it the region’s fastest growing market. Thailand is receiving increasing attention in the Indian market, especially among tour groups and niche-market segments; such as, wedding and honeymoon, and film-making. This market is projected to show continued growth in 2011.
OCEANIA: Arrivals grew by 9.42% to 719,708. Australia, the main market, was up 10.28% to 634,407 whereas New Zealand showed a smaller growth of 3.16% to 82,931.
MIDDLE EAST: Arrivals in January – November 2010 grew by a strong 21.73% to 534,844 with all markets showing a positive growth, especially Iran. Main markets like Israel and the UAE have continued to do well. However, arrivals from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have slowed significantly with respective declines of -6.33% and -23.62%. Thailand has maintained a strict neutrality and maintains good relations with the Arab and Islamic world, where it enjoys a good reputation as a value-for-money destination.