First-quarter tourist figures grow, thanks to the Chinese

Posted on May 11, 2015


The tourist figures for the first quarter of 2015 show impovement over the same quarter of last year, with international passenger traffic at Phuket International Airport up by 2.82 per cent.

The domestic traffic, which grew by just 3pc from 2013 to 2014, showed much more robust growth of 11pc this year. The figures include both Thais and foreigners arriving in and departing from Phuket on domestic flights.

(The owner of the airport, Airports of Thailand, gives figures for arrivals and departures combined.)

For the whole of Thailand, immigration recorded 7.88 million arrivals, compared with 6.38 million in the same quarter of 2014, up 23.5pc.

There have been big changes, however, especially among the Chinese and Russian arrivals.1431058801_1-org

With the Russian economy in the trashcan, salary cuts and the plummeting in the value of the ruble, the number of arrivals from that country fell from just under 700,000 in the first quarter of 2014 to 324,000 in the same period this year – a drop of 54pc.1431058821_4078-org1431058822_9450-org

Happily for Thailand’s tourism industry, the number of Chinese arrivals almost doubled from 1.037 million to 2.033 million, easily making up for the Russian shortfall of 376,000.

Another highlight of the first-quarter figures was a 70pc jump in the number of tourists coming in from Malaysia, from 521,000 to 890,000.

Although the numbers were more modest, Singapore showed the third-largest increase, of 46pc, from 146,000 arrivals to 212,000.

Looking at the longer history, passenger traffic through Phuket International Airport grew from 2.48 million in the first quarter of 2011 to 3.59 million in the same quarter of this year, an increase of 49pc.

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