About 10.5 million foreign tourists visited the Kingdom during the first half of this year, up 7.6 per cent year on year, led by 1.1 million Chinese nationals, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The agency plans to boost its forecast for full-year 2012 to 20.5 million arrivals generating revenue of Bt846 billion for the Thai economy.
Even while facing risks from the worsening financial crises in Europe and political uncertainty at home, amid other negative factors, the statistics look impressive, and this should mean handsome profits for the hotel industry, which generates 30 per cent of Thailand’s tourism revenue. However, because of the large supply of rooms, hotels cannot raise room rates, and compared with hotels in neighbouring countries, Thailand’s are operating with the lowest average rates.
According to data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Thailand was the most outstanding destination in Southeast Asia in the first half.
Of 36.79 million visitors to the region, Thailand attracted 10 million, even as the global financial crisis made long-haul travel from Europe and North America less attractive. In the period, Singapore drew 5.92 million tourists, Malaysia 9.43 million and Vietnam 3.36 million.