Thailand Looks Forward
The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) recently forecast that tourist arrivals to Thailand from July to September will rise by 24.62 percent to reach 7.29 million, according to TTR Weekly. The figures were provided at a press conference where government officials also announced that the Thailand Tourism Confidence Index for the third quarter of 2015 reached 100, based on input from 600 tour agencies.
In the first five months of 2015, 12.48 million individual visits were made to Thailand, which represents a growth of 24.89 percent compared to the same period in 2014. “The Kingdom’s tourism has recovered mainly on the back of the China market, which is very robust,” Khun Ittirit Kinglek, president of the TCT told the press, adding that the Chinese market is expected to deliver a total of 7.45 million visits in the second half of the year.
Popular events that have attracted large numbers of visitors from China already this year included Chinese New Year, which was celebrated in February and Songkran Festival (the Thai New Year) in April. However, the TCT also plans to focus on markets in the Middle East and Europe as well as China in the coming months.
September promises to be an exciting month for music lovers in Bangkok with the 17th International Festival of Dance and Music taking place throughout the month and featuring over 20 performances with more than a thousand artistes taking to the stage. Meanwhile, pop fans are in for a treat with global superstars Maroon 5 also playing in the capital. Due to popular demand, the group will now play two shows on September 21st and 22nd at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani. Tickets for the first concert reportedly sold out in just three minutes, prompting immediate demand for a second show.
In October, visitors seeking an authentic window into Thailand’s dynamic local culture can enjoy Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival, which always draws large numbers of visitors. The festival is also celebrated in Trang, Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai but is larger and more spectacular on Phuket with colourful processions and extreme acts of self mortification. Later in November, the annual Loy Krathong Festival is expected to attract many visitors to the Kingdom. Also known as ‘The Festival of Lights’, it is one of Thailand’s most picturesque celebrations, when people release decorative lotus flower bowls holding candles into waterways across the country.
Also on the water, yachting enthusiasts are already registering and looking forward to this year’s King’s Cup Regatta, Phuket’s internationally recognized sailing event in December. In fact, in order to bolster global tourist numbers, the TCT plans to capitalize on Thailand’s reputation as a marine hub, building new marinas and promoting the Thai islands as leisure cruising destinations.
New sectors such as the cruise market will also be promoted, and TCT is calling for improvements to existing ports, including Laem Chabang, Bangkok Port and Phuket port. There are also plans in the pipeline for the construction of new ports in other popular tourist destinations like Krabi and Koh Samui.
by MAX VEE