Thai International Arrivals Hit 16.4m, But Saw Slow Down In May

Thailand is a tourism hotspot with plenty of options for tourists, from a trendy bar in Sathorn to the sandy beaches in KohSamui, among others, and it continues to attract arrivals from across the globe, if data from the Ministry of Tourism & Sports is anything to go by.

According to MOTS’ Permanent Secretary, PongpanuSvetarundra, Thailand welcomed a total  16.456 million international arrivals from January to May of 2018, which is a 12.62% from last year’s numbers. The international arrivals spent an approximate of Bt867.46 million in that time, up by 16.11% from the prior year’s numbers, Mr. Pongparu says. Data says that from that five-month time span, Thailand’s tourism revenue totalled to Bt1.2 trillion, a 6% increase from last year’s figures, with Bt800 billion from international arrivals, and local tourists accounting for Bt350 billion.

For the month of May alone, the Kingdom received at least 2.755 million foreign arrivals, generating approximately BT136.71 million in tourism revenue for the country. However, Mr. Pongpanu has also noted that the year-on-year increase is 6.3%, which is actually lower than the average for the months preceding it.

According to Mr. Pongpanu, there are several factors as to the slowdown of arrivals. May marks the start of Ramadan, which leads to less activity as Muslims abstain and fast as per religion. Additionally, the recent start of the FIFA World Cup 2018, hosted by Russia, also meant that people’s attention were being redirected from a trendy bar in Sathorn or whatever Thai attraction to the international sporting event.

Mr. Pongpanu, however, has stated that the MOTS expects this sluggish tourism to pass once Ramadan and the World Cup ends. He says that they believe that tourism growth will pick up once August rolls in, with estimations saying that Thailand should expect to stay on track to meet its tourism revenue target of Bt3 trillion.

For May, a majority of about 2 million international tourists were from East Asia, with China still accounting for the largest group, followed by Europe, Southern Asia, Northern America, followed by Oceania, the Middle East, then Africa.

The ministry hopes that revenue for the year 2018 will be up by 10% from last year’s numbers, which is approximately 38 million in additional revenue.