August was the fourth month this year that saw arrivals exceed three million, the second highest after January, when visits reached 3,197,053.
Other peak travel months when visits exceeded three million were March and July.
Based on the current performance tourism officials are confident visits will exceed 35 million by the end of the year. In 2016 the country registered 32.6 million visits.
January to August arrivals touched 23,545,093, up 5.36% over the same period last year. The figures are preliminary identified by a “P” on Ministry of Tourism and Sports data to indicate they could be revised at a later date.
“During August tourism spend was up 11.72% to reach B163.48 billion,” Ministry of Tourism and Sports Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra told a press briefing earlier this week.
He fielded questions on the 8% surge in the value of Thai baht against the US dollar, stating it would have marginal impact on tourism earnings, for the remainder of the year.
Most Asian nations have seen their currencies strengthen against the US dollar and they are the main source for Thailand’s tourist arrivals.
August figures and those for the eight months so far show China dominates Thailand’s travel supply chain.
In August alone, China generated 982,212 visits, up 10.3%. It was just short of half of all visits from the top supply region, East Asia, which generated 2,260,337 visits, up 9.56% on August 2016.
Second-placed Malaysia, which once was Thailand’s number one supply market for decades, generated 277,606 trips, up 9.52%.
All the top 10 supply markets are in Asia, together representing a market share of 70% of all August arrivals, as follows: China 982,212 (+10.30%); Malaysia 277,606 (+9.52%); Korea 164,001 (+16.52%); Japan 162,703 (+5.03%); Laos 158,377 (+4.18%); India 116,376 (+14.77%); Hong Kong 93,136 (+8.88%); Vietnam 90,502 (+9.17%); Cambodia 82,776 (+20.84%); Singapore 81,366 (+21.2%).
The top 10 revenue earners in August were: China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, India, Laos and Hong Kong.
January to August revenue reached an estimated B1.19 trillion, an increase of 7.47% over the same period last year. Tourism earnings currently represent 12% of GDP.
Meanwhile, Russian state news agency TASS has reported that the outflow of tourists from Russia to Thailand from January to July this year increased by almost a third, reaching a mark of 800,000 people.
The news was announced last Thursday (Sept 21) by Russian Ambassador to Thailand Kirill Barsky, speaking at the opening of festive events in the Kingdom’s parliament dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries. (See TASS story here.)
“Over the [first] seven months of this year, the number of tourists increased by 29%, reaching almost 800,000 people, more and more Thais are also travelling to Russia,” Amb Barsky said.
He also noted the impressive growth of trade turnover between the two countries, which increased from January to June by 43.7%.
Read original TTR Weekly story here.