It’s Official: Thailand arrivals surge past 38 million

BANGKOK: The official figure, Thailand closed 2018 with a record 38.28 million tourist arrivals and earnings estimated at THB2.01 trillion, according to data released by Minister of Tourism and Sports, Weerasak Kowsurat.

The ministry’s presentation showed arrivals reached 38,277,300 representing a 7.54% increase. In 2017 the head count reached 35.59 million.

Tourism revenue touched THB2.01 trillion an increase of 9.63% when compared with 2017.

This is despite concerns that the recent Phuket boat accident would affect the annual result particularly Chinese arrivals.

Chinese tourists are now making a comeback to Thailand following a slowdown in the wake of the tour boat tragedy that triggered concerns about the country’s safety standards.

330,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand in the seven-day Chinese New Year period 04-11 Feb 2019 according to TAT.

Top supply markets were identified for the year with figures rounded off. China supplied 10 million visits, followed by Malaysia with 4 million visits, India supplied 1.5 million, Singapore 1 million, Vietnam 1 million and the USA 1 million.

ASEAN countries together provided 10 million visits. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, are the ten Member States of ASEAN.

Weerasak emphasised the policy going forward was to present tourism as a tool to “reduce income inequality,” to make tourism “convenient, clean, safe, and sustainable” while applying technology to every area of tourism management and marketing.

The minister said the target was to develop tourism in secondary destinations and focus on niche markets that have high spend potential.

However, he said the policy in 2019 was not an endorsement of “wealth tourism,” rather the objective was to encourage quality visits in terms of the content experience.

He forecast that 2019 would close with 41.1 million foreign tourist arrivals (+ 7.5%) generating revenue of around THB2.21 trillion (+ 10%).

The China market should deliver around 11.69 million tourists (+11 %)

ASEAN markets are targeted to supply 11.31 million visits (+ 10%) and 6.90 million will be sourced from Europe (+ 2%).