Released last week, the ministry’s data showed the country attracted 9,194,057 international visits, last year, compared with 9,038,893 visits during the same period last year.
The data is based on foreign passports, or ID holders, passing through international checkpoints (land, sea and air).
Tourism and Sports Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra said China, Malaysia and Russia were the main source markets that helped to boost the country’s tourism in the first quarter of the year.
Tourism in Q1 also generated an estimated B154.698 billion in revenue up 3.73% over same quarter last year, he said.
In March, foreign the country recorded 3,007,833 visits up 2.01% from 2,948,690 visits during the same month last year.
By regions, all markets recorded increases except East Asia, the Oceania and Africa.
The Middle East recorded the highest growth of 25.41% from 60,400 to 75,747 visits. Israel showed the highest arrivals with 14,134 visits up 33.78% from 10,565 visits.
Other main markets in the Middle East: United Arab Emirates (13,809; +22.36%); Kuwait (4,226; +13.69%); Saudi Arabia (2,425; +25.71%); and Egypt (2,138; +1.71%).
South Asia posted an increase of 14.47% from 117,557 to 134,564 visits. India led the field supplying 103,634 visits growing 14.22% from 90,735 followed by Bangladesh (10,709; +31.48%), Pakistan (7,901; +29.82%), Sri Lanka (4,842; -22.68%) and Nepal (4,132; +28.36%).
The Americas recorded a growth of 11.51% from 130,112 to 145,085 visits. The US recorded the highest arrivals at 93,768 up 7.56% from 87,174 followed by Canada (25,402; +1.17%), Argentina (9,762; +54.83%) and Brazil (8,981; +97.30%).
Europe increased 3.85% from 632,223 to 656,554 visits. The markets that showed improvements were: Russia (+43.76%); East Europe (+22.73%); Finland (+8.05%); France (+4.23%); and the Netherlands (+1.25%).
The markets that showed declines were: Norway (-35.33%); Denmark (-20.42%); Spain (-17.56%); Switzerland (-15.69%); UK (-13.21%); Belgium (-10.27%); Sweden (-7.65%); Italy (-4.67%); Austria (-4.09%); and Germany (-1.56%).
In contrast, East Asia (ASEAN included) slightly declined 0.45% from 1,922,203 to 1,913,482 visits. The markets showed declines were: Hong Kong (-19.92%); China (-7.85%); and Malaysia (-4.97%).
The markets showed improvements were: South Korea (+24.15%); Myanmar (+15.63%); Vietnam (+15.45%); Laos (+15.31%); Japan (+14.06%); Indonesia (+11.80%); Taiwan (+6.81%); the Philippines (+6.42%); Cambodia (+6.41%); Brunei (+6.33%); and Singapore (+2.37%).
Oceania reported a decrease of 4.07% from 71,197 to 68,296 visits. The main markets Australia and New Zealand showed declines at 46.2% (60,244) and 1.05% (7,720) respectively.
Africa posted a slowdown of 5.95% from 14,998 to 14,105 visits. The main market South Africa dropped 13.33% from 7,170 to 6,214.
Late last month Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn announced that Thailand was expected to finish the first quarter of 2017 right on target with tourism revenue of B734 billion, up 9% over the same period of 2016.
The growth momentum is anticipated to continue through to the second quarter with an 11% year-on-year increase on revenue to B630b, including B16.6bn revenue targeted from tourism spending during the five-day Songkran holiday.
“In the first quarter, we’ve seen healthy growth from all source markets, and so we expect this growth momentum to continue into the second quarter,” Mr Yuthasak said.
“This expectation is based on a number of factors. Thailand will host the WTTC Global Summit 2017, from April 26-27 in Bangkok, and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017, from May 2-4 in Phuket.
“TAT will also enhance our marketing efforts in China through a series of roadshow events that focus on the luxury, health and wellness, and new markets as well as through celebrity marketing under the ‘Experience Thailand with Mario’ campaign,” he added.
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