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 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 expenditures, further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the most important economic sectors and contributor to job creation in Thailand as well as 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$137) per person, the Thai tourism industry generated 776 billion baht in earnings.
By regions, East Asia recorded the largest increase in receipts in 2011 at +39.40%, followed by South Asia (+33.27%), Oceania (+32.84%), Africa (+32.21%), Europe (+26.20%), the Americas (+20.36%) and the Middle East (+19.79%).
Europe holds the largest share of international tourism receipts in absolute numbers (a 38.23% share), reaching US$ 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), and South Asia (4.85% share or US$ 1,235 million). The Middle East (4.29% share) accounted for US$ 1,093 million and Africa (0.88% share) was worth US$ 224 million.
According to per-capita daily spending, the top 10 countries for 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).
Among Asian visitors, the lowest daily spend was by Laotians (US$101.99) and among Europeans, the lowest daily spend was by Germans (US$115.46).
In terms of total expenditure by all visitors, the top five nations were Russia, China, Australia, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. Here is a brief snapshot summary of each:
Russia: Thanks to an increasing number of charter flights, Russia is now the top generator of arrivals from Europe, up 63.45% to 1,052,361 in 2011. Russian tourists spent a total of US$1,970.84 million (60 billion baht) in 2011, 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 was the second-largest source 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.