In spite of the sharp declines in arrivals during the political crisis months of May and June 2010, international visitor arrivals in the first four months of this year were still high enough to allow the country to enjoy a 13.70% increase in total arrivals in the first half.
Figures tabulated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in January-June 2010, showed total arrivals by nationality of 7,515,025 up from 6,609,313 or up 13.70% over the same period of 2009.
This is because arrivals in the first half of 2009 had been hit by the impact of the global financial and economic crisis prevailing at the time, making this year’s rate of increase relatively high over a low base figure. It also reflects the fact that while arrivals to Bangkok were significantly affected, arrivals to Phuket remained relatively buoyant.
As the arrivals in June and July 2010 have picked up significantly, thanks to the launch of recovery programmes and a broad range of promotional packages, the Tourism Authority of Thailand officials are optimistic that it will still be possible to meet the year’s total arrivals target of 14.5 million arrivals.
On each of the markets, the following performance analysis, based on the figures tabulated so far:
EAST ASIA: East Asian visitor arrivals to Thailand comprise the biggest market share of all visitors. Of the 7.5 million arrivals in January-June 2010, a total of 3.67 million were from the East Asia region. Malaysia topped the list with 930,660 arrivals, followed by Japan 475,386, China 471,462, and Korea 382,394.
EUROPE: The January-June period saw a good growth rate of 15.86% to 2.27 million. The United Kingdom is the largest source market out of Europe, with arrivals of 412,035, up 2.28%. Germany is Thailand’s second highest source market from Europe with a total of 320,368 arrivals, up 15.89% over the January-June 2009.
Visitors from Russia to Thailand have been growing steadily over the past few years. In the early days, Russian visitors began flocking on charters to Pattaya to escape the harsh winters. Today, they have become mainstream travellers. In January – June 2010, Russian visitors to Thailand totalled 305,415, up 102.28% over the same period of 2009.
THE AMERICAS: Arrivals in January-June 2010 saw an increase of 3.64% to 431,381. The main market, the US, increased by 1.95% to 310,454. Arrivals from both Brazil and Canada showed positive growth of 17.29% and 3.88%. Thailand’s image of good value for money remains a powerful magnet that continues to attract tourists.
SOUTH ASIA: Arrivals in January-June 2010 grew by a strong 15.99% to 446,935 with all markets doing well. India has become a primary market with arrivals up by 18.39% to 344,063, making it the region’s fastest growing market. Thailand is enjoying huge popularity among Indian niche markets; such as, weddings and honeymooners.
OCEANIA: Arrivals in January-June 2010 grew by 11.87% to 367,540 visitors. Australian visitors were up 13.00% to 326,084 and New Zealand +3.00% to 40,255. This is largely due to the influx of low-cost airlines like Jetstar into Phuket.
MIDDLE EAST: Arrivals in January-June 2010 grew by a strong 22.20% to 261,657 with all markets showing a positive growth. One of the most promising is Iran with arrival only at Suvarnnabhumi airport up by 51.86%.
AFRICA: Arrivals in January-June 2010 were up by 21.71% to 56,908. South Africa is a major market and has showed significant growth of 39.09% to 23,434. It is expected to perform strongly in the year ahead in the wake of relaunch of Thai Airways’ flights to Johannesburg.
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports According to the TAT Governor Suraphon Svetsreni, the strong market recovery efforts being exerted by the Thai tourism private sector, Thai Airways International, as well as the high-profile promotions such as the “Thailand Today” mega-fam trip should make it possible to make up lost ground in the second half of this year.
Asian economies have showed steady economic improvements and the short-haul markets such as India, China and Indonesia are showing great promise. At the same time, the airline industry is adding more flights from key markets; such as, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Many countries are also relaxing or withdrawing their travel warnings to Thailand, and new markets such as China, Russia and India are showing significant growth, Mr Suraphon noted.
From TAT Web site: www.tatnews.org