Asia delivers the numbers
A boost in arrivals from East Asia pushed Thailand’s average growth in October to 20%, the highest rate of the year, according to the international arrivals report of the Department of Tourism.
The driving force was China which recorded a 70% increase in arrivals.
Travel from Malaysia which had dropped since April following the car bomb in Hat Yai 31 March rebounded with a 15% increase.
But the ministry cautioned that the comparison was made with October 2011 that suffered unusual declines due to heavy flooding in Thailand’s central plains.
Overall in October, Thailand recorded 1,714,152 international tourists, up substantially by 20.53%. It pushed the average growth rate for the 10-month period up from 8.69% to 9.74% on 17,679,408 visits.
China the new top supplier posted a robust growth of 76.04%, delivering 262,460 tourists. The accumulated visits surpassed the 2 million-mark (2,193,431) with an average growth rate of 41.72%.
Thailand is now seriously dependent on the China market and if there are political upheavals the declines will be even more devastating than in the past.
Malaysia, the second largest contributor managed to increase 14.97% to reach 201,566 visits in October.
All the key source markets are now in Asia rather than Europe: Japan, +49.54% (106,400); Korea, +31.88% (98,385) and Singapore, +37.95%. Indonesia though still low in visits, recorded a dramatic increase of 66.06% (42,678).
Overall, East Asia supplied 1,014,672 visits with a healthy growth of 35.42%. Other regions posted only slight increase and there was a drop in the Middle East (-0.46%, 45,791).
Europe’s arrivals improved just marginally at 2.07% (371,199), suggesting the 50-year dependence on this zone is now over replaced by dominant Asian supply markets.
The mature markets in Europe all produced single digit growth; United Kingdom, Germany and France at +5.95%, +4.58% and +9.93% respectively.
Even Russia, a bright star for Thailand’s tourism was in the red zone in October, falling substantially by 9.63%. However, it is considered a seasonal trend that should follow with substantial increases as the main winter season for travel to Thailand kicks in this December.
The Americas and South Asia produced double digit growth; +10.50% (82,676) and 10.14% (104,817%) respectively whereas Oceania only grew marginally, 1.61% (83,733) and Africa, +3.7%.
In October, Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed 1,069,282 tourists (+16.58%) followed by Phuket Airport, 194,950 (+10.77%); Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla province, 103,166 (+0.63%); the Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border in Srakaew province, 33,309 (-23.39%) and First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, 31,802 (-51.57%).
Thai outbound travel reached 701,375 trips in October (school holiday month), representing an increase of 5.51%. There were 259,794 (-13.21%) outbound trips through Suvarnabhumi Airport followed by the Aranyaprathet checkpoint, 128,468 (+13.59%); Sadao Checkpoint, 75,613 (+16.79%); First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint, 43,090 (+15.43%) and the Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bride checkpoint in Mukdaharn province, 30,845 (+94.65%)
The data was collected by the Immigration Bureau from all checkpoints – air, land and sea and is preliminary data subject to review.