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Sunday, 16 June 2013 10:18

Tourist Numbers Increase in Thailand Featured

Tourist Numbers Increase in Thailand

Thailand is a significant tourist market for Australians with 400,000 Australians visiting Thailand each year. The Australia-Thailand aviation market is Australia’s 6th largest. A number of airlines provide direct flights between Australia and Thailand including: Qantas, V Australia, Jetstar, British Airways, Thai Airways and Air Australia.

From January to April 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that 8,841,730 trips to Thailand were registered.

Tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 soldiers on R&R (Rest & Recuperation) in 1967, to over 22 million international guests visiting Thailand in 2012.

Tourism is a major economic factor in the Kingdom of Thailand contributing an estimated 6.7% to Thailand's GDP in 2007.

Among the reasons for the increase in tourism in the 1960s were the stable political atmosphere and the development of Bangkok as a crossroads of international air transportation. The hotel industry and retail industry both expanded rapidly due to tourist demand. It was also boosted by the presence of US soldiers who started to arrive in the 1960s for Rest and Recuperation during the Viet Nam war period.

Coinciding, international mass tourism sharply increased during the same period due to the rising standard of living, more people acquiring more free time and due to improvements in technology making it possible to travel further, faster, cheaper and in greater numbers, epitomised by the Boeing 747 which first flew commercially in 1970.Thailand was one of the major players in Asia to capitalise on this then-new trend.

Tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 R&R soldiers in 1967 to over 22 million international guests visiting Thailand in 2012. The average duration of their stay in 2007 was 9.19 days, generating an estimated 547,782 million Thai baht, around 11 billion Euro In 2007, Thailand was the 18th most visited country in the World Tourism rankings, with 14.5 million visitors.

In 2008, Bangkok ranked 3rd behind London and New York in Euromonitor International's list of "Top City Destinations" with 10,209,900 visitors, Pattaya 23rd with 4,406,300 visitors, Phuket 31st with 3,344,700 visitors, and Chiang Mai ranked 78th place with 1,604,600 visitors.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 55% of the tourists in 2007 came from the Asia Pacific region, Japanese and Malaysians forming the two biggest groups. The largest groups of Western tourists come from the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the United States and Scandinavia.

The number of tourists arriving from Russia is on the rise. Around 55% of Thailand's tourists are return visitors. The peak period is during the Christmas and New Year holidays when Western tourists flee the cold conditions.

In 2012, 2.7 million Chinese visitors traveled to Thailand.

From January to April 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that 8,841,730 trips to Thailand were registered.
Domestic tourism has also grown significantly in the past decade. Revenues from domestic tourism have gone from 187,898 million baht in 1998 to 380,417 million baht (approximately 7.8 billion Euro) in 2007.

Asian tourists primarily visit Thailand for Bangkok and the historical, natural and cultural sights in its vicinity. Western tourists not only visit Bangkok and surroundings but in addition many travel down to the southern beaches and islands. The North is the main region for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains. The region receiving less tourists is Isan in the north-east. To facilitate foreign visitors, the Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone number.

Sex tourism also contributes to arrival numbers. Although officially illegal, prostitution in Thailand is monitored and regulated by the government to stem the spread of STD’s and to prevent excesses. Prostitution catering to foreigners is believed to be around 20% of the total prostitution scene in Thailand, and is concentrated in a few major red-light districts such as Pattaya, Patong and Patpong.

Thailand has been receiving increased competition ever since Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam opened up to international tourism in the 1980s and 90s. Destinations like Angor Wat, Luang Krabang and Halong Bay now contest Thailand's former monopoly in the Indochina region.

To counter this, Thailand is actively targeting niche markets such asgolf holidays, or holidays combined with medical treatment. Thailand has also plans on becoming the hub for Buddhist tourism in the region. Around 2 million foreigners visited Thailand for medical treatment in 2009, more than 3 times the amount of tourist visiting for that purpose in 2002.

According to Lonely Planet, Thailand ranks second of "Best-value destinations for 2012" after Iceland, the latter having been hit very hard by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Read 638 times Last modified on Sunday, 16 June 2013 10:36
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