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According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand has achieved record-breaking visitor arrivals, crossing the 22 million mark for the first time in 2012. Figures tabulated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for January — December 2012 show total arrivals by nationality of 22,303,065, up 15.98 percent over 2011.
Commenting on the performance, TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said,
“We are overjoyed to have achieved this result in the year the people of Thailand commemorated the 85th birthday of His Majesty the King. It is also a tribute to the cooperation and creativity of the entire Thai travel & tourism industry for the huge effort that has been made to ensure that travel & tourism remains a leading industry for job creation, distribution of income nationwide and contribution to culture, heritage and environmental preservation.”
The governor said that the primary contributor to this result was the prevalence of global, regional and local peace and stability.
“Last year, the world was generally at peace and there were no major geopolitical, economic, environmental or natural disasters and no health pandemics. Travel & tourism can only flourish worldwide if the underlying conditions that support it remain free of disturbance and disruption. That is one of the most important lessons for the entire industry to learn worldwide,” he said.
The highlight of the results was the fact that six countries, five of which are within the Asia-Pacific region, are now producing more than one million annual visitor arrivals. These are Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia.
The following performance analysis by market is based on the figures tabulated so far:
East Asia accounts for more than 50% of foreign arrivals in Thailand
OVERVIEW: Visitors from East Asia totaled 12,502,194 (+20.84%), Europe 5,617,817 (+10.12%), the Americas 1,080,148 (+13.40%), South Asia 1,289,641 (+11.36%), Oceania 1,046,753 (+12.13%), Middle East 604,659 (+0.58%) and Africa 161,853 (+17.36%).
EAST ASIA: East Asian visitor arrivals to Thailand comprise the biggest market share of all visitors. Of the 22.30 million arrivals in 2012, a total of 12.50 million (+20.84%) were from East Asia regions.
By this year, two source-markets, China (2.7 million) and Malaysia (2.5 million) are now generating more than two million annual arrivals each. And two source-markets, Japan (1.3 million) and Korea (1.1 million) are generating more than one million arrivals each.
The ASEAN countries in total are generating over six million arrivals, with spectacular growth by Cambodia (+59.74%), Vietnam (+24.36%), Indonesia (+21.02%), Myanmar (+17.40%) and Laos (+6.63%).
EUROPE: The European visitors showed a good growth rate of 10.12% to 5.61 million. Russia is the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 1,317,387, up 24.97%. United Kingdom is the second highest source market with a total of 870,164, up 2.98%, followed by Germany 681,566, up 10.08%.
THE AMERICAS: Arrivals from the Americas showed a good growth of 13.40% to 1,080,148 the main market, US, increased by 12.57% to 767,420. Arrivals from both Canada and Brazil showed positive growth of 12.18% and 22.18%.
SOUTH ASIA: Arrivals from South Asia grew by a strong 11.36% to 1,289,641. India has become a top of the list from South Asian market with arrivals up by 11.03% to 1,015,865, making it the region’s fastest growing market, followed by Sri Lanka 73,338, (+36.73%).
OCEANIA: Arrivals from Oceania grew by 12.13% to 1,046,753 visitors. Australian visitors were up 12.14% to 930,599 and New Zealand +12.28% to 113,509.
MIDDLE EAST: Arrivals from Middle East showed a slight growth of 0.58% to 604,659 with all markets up. Israel is the largest source market with arrivals of 129,184 (+3.27%) followed by UAE 113,174 (+4.20%) and Kuwait 64,536 (+15.68%).
AFRICA: Arrivals from Africa were up by 17.36% to 161,853. South Africa is a major market and has showed significant growth of 10.22% to 75,496.
In 2013, the TAT is confident that if the global, regional and local situation remains stable, this year will see Thailand receive 24.5 million arrivals, generating a projected tourism income of 1,149 billion baht.
A survey shows that Thailand has been rated the most attractive tourism destination in the ASEAN region, according to 686 international tourists polled by Bangkok University.
The survey was conducted by Bangkok Poll of Bangkok University among 686 foreigners traveling in Bangkok. They came from Europe, America, Oceania, Asia, and Africa. A total of 58 percent of the respondents to the survey voted Thailand as the number one ASEAN tourism destination, followed by Vietnam; at 34.1 percent, Cambodia; at 30.6 percent, Laos; 30.3 percent, Singapore; 26.1 percent, Malaysia; 25.8 percent, Indonesia; 24.3 percent, Myanmar; 20.6 percent, Philippines; 19.5 percent, and Brunei Darussalam; 3.9 percent.
Regarding the most interesting attractions in Thailand, the respondents indicated historical sites and ancient objects (28.1 percent), culture, traditions, and folk art (20.4 percent), beaches (14.3 percent), Thai food (10.6 percent), and shopping centers (7.4 percent).
Concerning their confidence in the safety of tourists in Thailand, 97.6 percent said that they had much confidence, and only 2.4 percent responded negatively. About 85 percent said that they would like to visit Thailand again, while 96.3 percent would recommend Thailand to their friends to visit.
Asked about the factors that could affect the tourism atmosphere in Thailand, 37.2 of the respondents cited traffic congestion, 23.2 percent cited unfair fares charged by tuk tuk taxi drivers, and 20.7 percent cited overpriced products. However, 60.5 percent said that they found Thailand better than they had expected before coming, and 37.6 found the country the same as they had expected.