Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said that current performance points to the number of foreign visitors touch 18.3 million, a long way ahead of the 2011 target of 16.5 million.
Of the 18.3 million, about 5.2 million are expected to come from Europe and generate B280 billion in the Kingdom.
The projection is based on tourist numbers during the first six months of this year, which came to 9.85 million, a growth of 28.13 per cent, along with the rapidly growing number of European visitors of 2.72 million.
For the entire year, as many as 800,000 travelers are likely to come from Russia alone, Ms Juthaporn said, and strong growth has also been seen in the UK, Middle Eastern and Canadian markets.
Despite rapid growth in newer markets such as India and China, the high spending power of Europeans is crucial to the tourism industry.
According to the TAT’s projection for next year, 5.4 million people from Europe and Russia (of a targeted 19 million worldwide), will arrive in Thailand in 2012, spending B370 billion, almost half the country’s expected total tourism revenue of B765 billion.
Thus, half the income will come from just over a quarter of the visitors. – NNT