Thailand has achieved record-breaking visitor arrivals, crossing the 22 million mark for the first time in 2012 – and nearly 60,000 of those visitors were Irish. Figures tabulated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for January – December 2012 show total arrivals of 22,303,065 visitors, up 15.98% over 2011.
Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, said: “We are overjoyed to have achieved this result in the year the people of Thailand commemorated the 85th birthday of His Majesty the King. It is also a tribute to the co-operation and creativity of the entire Thai travel and tourism industry for the huge effort that has been made to ensure that travel and tourism remains a leading industry for job creation, distribution of income nationwide and contribution to culture, heritage and environmental preservation.”
The primary contributor to this result was the prevalence of global, regional and local peace and stability. “Last year, the world was generally at peace and there were no major geopolitical, economic, environmental or natural disasters and no health pandemics,” he said. “Travel and tourism can only flourish worldwide if the underlying conditions that support it remain free of disturbance and disruption. That is one of the most important lessons for the entire industry to learn worldwide.”
In 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is confident that, if the global, regional and local situation remains stable, this year will see Thailand receive 24.5 million arrivals, generating a projected tourism income of 1,149 billion baht (€28.6 billion).
Six countries – Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia – are now producing more than one million annual visitor arrivals. Visitors from East Asia totalled 12,502,194 (+20.84%), Europe 5,617,817 (+10.12%), the Americas 1,080,148 (+13.40%), South Asia 1,289,641 (+11.36%), Oceania 1,046,753 (+12.13%), Middle East 604,659 (+0.58%) and Africa 161,853 (+17.36%).
The European visitors showed a good growth rate of 10.12% to 5.61 million. Russia is the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 1,317,387, up 24.97%. The UK is the second highest source market with a total of 870,164, up 2.98%, followed by Germany 681,566, up 10.08%.