Record number of arrivals expected

Posted on August 22, 2011

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International tourist arrivals are expected to surpass the previous 16.5 million target. According to research by the Fiscal Policy Office of the Finance Ministry, 19.5 million visitors are expected by the end of this year.

The numbers of tourists in 2011 might grow 22% from last year.

The ambitious new target may be possible to reach if the political situation in the Kingdom remains stable.

A report by the Tourism and Sports Ministry puts the total number of international arrivals during the first seven months of this year at 11 million _ 25% higher than the same period last year, at 8.8 million visitors.

The top 10 source countries for visitors are China (975,770), Japan (664,066), Korea (598,672), Russia (578,532), India (552,321), the UK (498,675), Australia (451,537), the USA (405,442), Singapore (391,923) and Germany (369,634).

The highest spending visitors are from the United Kingdom, followed by Australia, Malaysia, the United States and China.

The tourism industry in Thailand experienced strong growth during the first six months despite various negative global factors such as political unrest in the Arab world, the impact of the tsunami in Japan, flooding in many parts of Thailand during March and a strong baht as well as an economic recession in Europe and the US.

Thai Travel Agent Association head Charoen Wangananot said he was amazed to see double-digit growth in visitor numbers _ the highest growth during the past four decades.

Charoen said the growth might be because visitors feel safer now as the political situation here starts to improve. In addition, Thailand still have many types of attractions to suit various types of visitors including a rich culture, diverse nature, shopping and medical packages as well as facilities to host international events and fairs.

If Thailand can maintain political stability, the tourism industry will be one of the major sources of income for the country for the next three years, he said.

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Posted in: Pattaya, Phuket