China was the top supplier, surpassing the all-time No 1 contributor Malaysia for the first time. According to the report, on the website of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and compiled from Immigration Police statistics, Thailand received 1,944,130 international visitors in January, a slight increase of 7.65 per cent over 1,805,947 recorded in the same month last year.
However, there are signs that the year might not turn out as smooth as the January gains suggest.
The private sector is concerned about the possibility of more flooding this year and the recent terror bombing in downtown Bangkok will see security warnings heightened and may damp tourist arrivals in the first quarter.
Looking at January figures, key source countries mostly reported increases, apart for Japan, South Korea and India, which recorded single-digit declines of 1.75, 4.88 and 7.91 per cent respectively.
China continued with strong growth. Chinese arrivals jumped 30.49 per cent from 143,477 to 187,229 and the market expanded from 7.94 per cent to 9.63 per cent.
As a result, China took top supplier position from Malaysia for the first time.
The Kasikorn Research Centre predicts that Chinese arrivals to Thailand this year may increase by 15.4 per cent to reach two million trips, generating B60 billion in revenue for Thailand, compared with 1.76 million visits and earnings of B52 billion in 2011.
Russia also maintained a good performance. In January, it secured third place (the same as in January last year). Russian arrivals tallied 148,124, up 8.79 per cent from 136,159.
In terms of gateways, Phuket saw the biggest surge, with a rise of 23.49 per cent to 282,716 arrivals. Suvarnabhumi welcomed 1,236,018 tourists in January, a far lower increase of 4.2 per cent.