Arrivals to Thailand soar
Ministry of Tourism and Sports reports arrivals to Thailand soared 60% in November with Chinese tourists almost quadrupling to bring the 11 month total close to 20 million tourists.
The percentage growth was substantial due to a dramatic fall in arrivals in October and November 2011 when Bangkok and the central plains region suffered the worst flooding of more than 50 years. Arrivals in November 2011 fell 18% due to the floods.
This November, international arrivals recorded at 2,073,817 were up 60.57%. It raised the year-to-date total to 19,761,794 tourists, up 13.57% compared to January to November in 2011.
Tourism Authority of Thailand projects the country could welcome 20.8 million this year, up 8% from 2011.
All regions reported impressive gains. The major contributor East Asia(56.67% market share), including ASEAN, doubled( +103.29% to 1,175,311). All identified source countries posted growths of 38% except for Laos that increased by just 2.47%.
China’s growth was described as an incredible; +376.53% supplying 322,377 tourists. Association of Thai Travel Agents’s figures for the China market, handled by its member companies, were in line with the Ministry’s assessed growth rate, up 389.73% (38,958).
Hong Kong grew 326.12% to 41,819. Japan, another key market posted 132.69% growth and Korea, 77.38%. Malaysia increased by 37.95%.
Europe posted the smallest growth rates of all regions a sign that there will be more declines in 2013 as the financial crisis hits leisure spending. But it was still positive for Thailand at +12.75% (524,499) although some markets reported substantial declines: Belgium, -21.36%; Denmark, -23.44%; Sweden, -36.2% and Norway, -6.94%.
Key markets that grew were: Russia, +25.28; France, +21.04%; Germany, +10.46%; and the United Kingdom, +19.56%.
Arrivals from South Asia, the Americas, Ocieania, Middle East and Africa were all robust up 64.93%, 33.46%, 46.08%, 32.16% and 197.99% respectively.
In November, Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed 1,287,191 tourists (+76.34%) followed by Phuket Airport, 257,149 (+32.02%); Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla province, 122,101 (+18.62%); the Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border in Srakaew province, 32,213 (-28.44%) and First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, 31,428 (-51.45%).
Thailand’s outbound travel grew slightly by 6.77% reaching 565,771 trips in November. There were 225,359 (+15.69%) outbound trips through Suvarnabhumi Airport followed by the Aranyaprathet checkpoint, 104,947 (-10.14%); Sadao Checkpoint, 40,906 (-17.44%); First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint, 31,315 (-11.79%) and Sungai Kolok on the Thai-Malaysian border in Narathiwat province, 20,629 (-0.91%).
The data was collected by the Immigration Bureau from all checkpoints – air, land and sea and is preliminary data subject to review.
(Editor’s note: We report the ministry’s data as it is given with some comments when appropriate. There is no independent channel to double check the ministry’s data, or to gauge if the figures are an accurate reflection of market conditions. There is no way of knowing if the figures have been padded out to meet a political agenda) .