International arrivals to Thailand remain strong despite global economic slowdown

7th Jul 2012
International arrivals to Thailand remain strong despite global economic slowdown

The global economy slowdown has had little impact on tourist arrivals to Thailand.  The Kingdom had a total of 8,871,930 visitor arrivals for the period of January through May 2012, up 7.27% compared to the same period in 2011. China was the best performer with 943,161 visitors, up 26.13% with the largest market share for an individual country of 10.63%.

The overall growth remains strong for Thai tourism with visitor arrivals to Thailand from all European countries of 2,690,783, a 10.9% increase for the period January through May 2012, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. European countries, even with the Eurozone crisis, accounted for a market share of 30.33%, up from 29.33% for the same period in 2011.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “These extremely encouraging arrival figures are the result of teamwork by the entire travel industry which, along with our airline partners, has worked hard to deal with the effects of the Eurozone problems and maintain visitor flows with the right combination of marketing and pricing strategies.

“The result is all the more remarkable because May is usually the start of the off-season period for travel from Europe. Yet, in May alone, our arrivals from Europe totalled 296,670, up 27.27% over May 2011.”

The numbers showed that in May, arrivals from Spain, one of the worst-hit European countries, totalled 6,472, up 39% over May 2011. Arrivals from all the top three performing European countries were up significantly in May 2012, with Russia at 64,212 (+52%); UK at 60,216 (+12%); and Germany at 41,032 (+35%).


For 2012, TAT has set a target of 20.5 million total international visitors and foreign exchange earnings of 766 billion baht (USD 25 billion).

Below is a summary of the overall figures for the period of January through May 2012, with the percentage change over the same period of 2011, tabulated on arrivals by nationality at all points of entry into Thailand:

Overview: Europe 2,690,783 (market share 30.33% of total arrivals); the Americas 467,221 (5.27% share); South Asia 508,666 (5.73% share); Oceania 394,500 (4.45% share); Middle East 228,606 (2.58% share); and Africa 71,666 (0.81% share).  Arrivals from East Asia grew by 5.02% to 4,510,488 (market share: the remaining 50.84% of total arrivals).

East Asia:
• China was the best performer with 943,161 visitors, up 26.13% with the largest market share for an individual country of 10.63%.
• Malaysia was the second biggest source market with total arrivals of 916,367, although with a decrease in arrivals of -7.87%.
• Japan: 534,556, up 10.32%.
• Korea: 457,644, up 4.40%.
• Arrivals from the neighbouring ASEAN countries also showed good growth, e.g., Vietnam (+20.19%), Brunei (+10.90%), Cambodia (+10.51%), Myanmar (+9.63%), Laos (+8.01%), Indonesia (+6.71%), Singapore (+4.82%), while the Philippines was down (-5.77%).

Europe: Arrivals from Europe grew by 10.91%.
• Russia remained ahead of the UK and Germany as the largest source market from Europe. During the period of January through May 2012, Russian visitors to Thailand totalled 578,687, up 9.62% over the same period of 2011.
• The United Kingdom and Germany ranked the second and third largest sources of visitor arrivals – 372,746 (+1.02%) and 326,733 (+10.44%) respectively.
• French visitor arrivals totalled 276,617 (+17.84%).
• Arrivals from the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark grew by 18.86%, 17.67% and 16.69% respectively.

The Americas: Arrivals from the Americas grew by 10.92%. 
• American visitor arrivals totalled 321,552 (+8.92%).
• Canadian visitors to Thailand grew by 10.82% to 101,050.

South Asia: Visitor arrivals from South Asia showed growth of 5.58%.
• India, the biggest source of visitors in South Asia, experienced growth of 6.81% to 405,719 arrivals.
• Visitors from Sri Lanka grew by 16.47% to 27,320.
• Bangladeshi visitor arrivals totalled 26,533.

Oceania: Visitor arrivals from Oceania grew by 10.06%.
• Arrivals from Australia and New Zealand were up 10.33% to 354,646 and 7.88% to 38,615 respectively.

Middle East: Visitors from the Middle East declined by 2.01%.
• Key Middle East markets grew significantly, especially Saudi Arabia (27.25%) and Kuwait (21.11%). Arrivals from Egypt were up by 22.16%, while the UAE experienced a decline of 1.58%.

Africa: Visitor arrivals from Africa grew strongly by 30.46% to 71,666.


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