Where are Thailand’s tourists coming from?

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Business team deliberating with their lawyer

The number of visitor arrivals in Thailand between January and April 2016 amounted to an impressive 11,682,144 which was a 14.12% increase on the same period in the previous year. Tourist revenue is also predicted to rise by around 8% in 2016 following on from an increase of 23% in 2015 compared to 2014. In monetary terms, the total amount of tourist revenue generated in 2015 was US$42 billion. It is this figure that is predicted to rise by 8% with revenue from domestic travel predicted to be around US$24 billion in 2016.

So where are the visitors coming from? According to information provided by the Immigration Office and Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, visitors from East Asia totalled 7,630,739 (+17.26%), Europe 2,526,784 (+8.89%), the Americas 502,627 (+13.76%), South Asia 459,157 (+8.72%), Middle East 226,973 (+11.36%) and Africa 51,566 (+6.44%). The only market reporting a slowdown was Oceania: 284,298 (-2.71%).

Of the 7.63 million arrivals coming from East Asia and ASEAN which made up 65.32% of the total market share, 3.4 million came from China with the total from ASEAN countries being 2.74 million arrivals with the majority of these coming from neighbouring Laos. Malaysia, Korea and Japan all made it into the top five for the numbers of visitors to Thailand.

As a whole, the number of European visitors coming between January and April 2016 increased by 8.89% to 2.52 million compared with the previous year. Perhaps not surprisingly the largest source in this category was Russia who had 443,346 visitors, compared to the previous year. This was an increase of 15.25% as the country recovered from the drastic fall in the value of the Rouble. The number of visitors from the UK was up 10.12% to 369,671 followed by Germany and then France.

There was also significant growth in the number of visitors coming from South Asia. The total in the stated months was 459,157, an increase of 8.72% on the same period in the previous year. India made up the highest percentage of visitors in this group, 76.63%. There were also increases in the number of visitors from Nepal and Sri Lanka although visitors from Pakistan and Bangladesh reduced.

Visitors from The Americas, Middle East and Africa also increased but there was a marginal decline in the number of visitors coming from Oceania. This group declined by 2.71% to 284,298, attributed mainly to falls in the number of coming from Australian and New Zealand.

Top 10 markets for Thailand in January – April 2016 

Rank Country No. of Arrivals % Share %Change
1 China 3,445,501 29.49 +27.35
2 Malaysia 1,177,534 10.08 +8.48
3 Korea 521,732 4.47 +14.18
4 Japan 487,332 4.17 +3.34
5 Lao PDR. 448,989 3.84 +25.46
6 Russia 443,346 3.80 +15.25
7 United Kingdom 369,671 3.16 +10.12
8 India 351,869 3.01 +11.22
9 Germany 345,095 2.95 +8.33
10 USA 337,243 2.89 +14.26

Source: Im