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Thailand recorded a 31% increase in tourism receipts in 2011 over 2010, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports figures. The total earnings of 776 billion baht (US$25.45 billion) were also well above the original target of 716 billion baht (US$ 23 billion).
The figures show that Thailand has recorded clear increases in both quality and quantity of visitor arrivals. The growth in total number of visitors is being matched by increased average length of stay and average daily expenditure, further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the most important economic sectors and contributor to job creation and nationwide income distribution.
According to the Ministry, Thailand recorded 19.23 million international visitors in 2011, up by 20.67% over 2010. With an average length of stay of 9.64 days, and an average daily spend of 4,187.12 baht (US$137) per person, the Thai tourism industry generated 776 billion baht in earnings.
By regions, the East Asia (+39.40%) recorded the largest increase in receipts in 2011
followed by South Asia (+33.27%), Oceania (+32.84%), Africa (+32.21%), Europe (+26.20%), the Americas (+20.36%) and Middle East (+19.79%).
Europe holds the largest share of international tourism receipts in absolute numbers (38.23% share), reaching US$ 9,733 million in 2011, followed by East Asia (37.33% share or US$ 9,505 million), the Americas (7.10% share or US$ 1,807 million), Oceania (7.30% share or US$ 1,858 million), South Asia (4.85% share or US$ 1,235 million), The Middle East (4.29% share) earned US$ 1,093 million and Africa (0.88% share) US$ 224 million.
According to the per capita daily spending, the top 10 ranked tourism spenders in 2011 were UAE (US$175.21), Saudi Arabia (US$166.92), South Africa (US$164.10), India (US$161.78), Hong Kong (US$161.63), Singapore (US$160.96), Kuwait (US$159.66), Australia (US$159.19), Brunei Darussalam (US$155.30) and Korea (US$153.17).
Amongst Asian visitors, the lowest daily spend is by Laotians (US$101.99) and amongst Europeans, the lowest daily spend is by Germans (US$115.46).
In terms of total expenditure by all visitors, the top five nationalities were Russia, China, Australia, Malaysia, and United Kingdom.
Here is a brief snapshot summary of each:
Russia: Thanks to the increasing number of charter flights, Russia is now the top generator of arrivals from Europe, up 63.45% to 1,052,361 in 2011. In 2011, Russian tourists spent a total of US$1,970.84 million (60 billion baht), based on an average length of stay of 13.29 days and an average daily spend of US$140.92 per person.
China: In 2011, China was the second largest source of visitors after Malaysia, with total arrivals of 1,704,800, up 50.57% over 2010. Based on an average daily spend per person of US$146.63, and average length of stay of 7.61 days, Chinese visitors generated tourism revenue of US$1,902.32 million (58 billion baht).
Australia: In 2011, Australian visitors to Thailand totalled 835,719, up 18.89% over 2010. Based on an average length of stay of 12.78 days and an average daily spend of US$159.19 per person, Australians generated US$1,700.27 million (51.8 billion baht) of tourism income.
Malaysia: Malaysia is Thailand’s largest source of visitor arrivals with a total of 2,492,034 in 2011, up 21.73% over 2010. Based on an average length of stay of 4.78 days and an average daily spend of US$137.10 per person, Malaysia generated US$1,633.15 million (49.79 billion baht) in tourism receipts.
United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is the second largest generator of arrivals from Europe with a total of 771,466 visitors in 2011, up 1.48% over 2010. Based on an average daily spend of US$121.84 per person and an average length of stay of 17.35 days, the UK generated US$1,630.80 million (49.72 billion baht) in tourism receipts.
Overall, the figures show that the recent strengthening of the baht against the US$ is having little impact on expenditure patterns and Thailand remains good value for money for visitors across the board.