Thailand Tourism Remains Resilient
Despite recent events in the capital, Thailand’s tourism industry has once again demonstrated its resilience. According to Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Minister for Tourism and Sports, the Kingdom is still on track to reach the target of 28.8 million tourist arrivals and THB 2.2 trillion (US$60.9 billion) by the end of the year.
Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports at the end of August show international tourist arrivals from January to July improved by 30.93 percent compared to 2014. The Kingdom attracted no less than 17,504,204 overseas visitors to its shores in the first seven months of the year, this in comparison to 13,368,979 during the same period last year.
In 2014, Thailand recorded 24.8 million visitors overall, slightly down from the 26.54 million visits in 2013. The revenue generated reached THB1.17 trillion (US$32.4 billion), declining 2.85 percent from the THB1.2 trillion (US$33.2 billion) generated the previous year.
The latest statistics show that Middle Eastern countries have been one of the Thai tourism industry’s key growth sectors in 2015, with the number of visitors increasing from 46,061 to 80,678 visitors. Growing numbers of visitors entering the Kingdom from the United Arab Emirates play a large part in this trend, while other key markets from the Middle East include Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The East Asian market also showed an increase of around 53.9 percent in the first half of this year. Figures show a significant rise in the number of visitors from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong. In addition, visitor numbers from ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have also proved positive, while South Asian arrival to Thailand rose from 91,713 to 120,786. India led the way with 90,034 visitors travelling to enjoy a vacation in the Kingdom since the new year.
Global tourism bodies such as the World Tourism Organization have expressed confidence that Thailand will bounce back quickly from the tragic attack on Bangkok in August. “This is thanks to our solid international relationships and immediate action to reaffirm confidence in Thailand through international media,” added Khun Kobkarn.
Security measures around the Kingdom, particularly at popular tourist destinations, have also been increased since the explosion, and the government has also been discussing new measures such as tourist insurance. In general, officials are confident that the negative impact of the bomb on the nation’s popularity has been significantly less than originally feared.
by MAX VEE