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Tourism flourishes despite Chinese slide

Tourism flourishes despite Chinese slide

PHUKET: International tourist arrival statistics released late last week brought some good news for those worrying if traditional and alternative markets can compensate the declining arrivals from Mainland China.

tourismeconomics
By Anton Makhrov

Saturday 1 June 2019, 09:30AM


Songkran celebrations failed to boost Chines arrivals, but tourists from other countries joined Thai festivities in droves as they had done before. Photo: Patong Municipality / File photo

Songkran celebrations failed to boost Chines arrivals, but tourists from other countries joined Thai festivities in droves as they had done before. Photo: Patong Municipality / File photo

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports last Friday (May 24), international arrivals for April 2019 totalled 3.2 million, an increase of 3.31% year on year, while visits from China in the same month dropped by 8.9% year on year to 898,994.

Overall spending also grew to B164,11 billion for April 2019, compared with B57.91bn for April last year – a growth of 3.93%. Chinese spending meanwhile dropped by 6.61% – from B51.92bn to B48.48bn.

Worth mentioning is that the continuing decline is characteristic of arrivals from mainland China only. Arrivals from Hong Kong and Taiwan in April grew by 28.24% and 8.8% receptively and totalled 154,636, while spending reached B6.37bn, a growth of 21.1%.

India, labelled as Thailand’s latest prioritised market, continued to show high growth rates with arrivals showing a 35.1% increase for April year on year (163,938 visitors). With extended waiver of visa-on-arrival fees and more direct flights to the Kingdom, the future seems cloudless.

Impressive growth was also recorded in the market of Japan. In April some 149,597 Japanese visitors were recorded as entering Thailand, an increase of 25.61% year on year.

Meanwhile, Russia stumbled as a source market, with a 14.31% fall in arrivals for April year on year (108,308 in 2019, compared with 126,402 in 2018) and a 13.12% fall in spending (B8,47bn in this year, down from B9.75bn last year).

However, Russia remains Thailand’s leading non-Asian market with 723,856 arrivals and B53,1bn spent in January-April (decline of 2.89% and 2.63%, respectively).

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Other top European markets in April included the UK (97,362 arrivals, up 12.32% year on year), Germany (74,980 arrivals, up 12.98% year on year) and France (64,322 arrivals, down 3.33% year on year).

In total, the European market (including Russia) provided Thailand with 516,369 arrivals (up 1.62% year on year) and B38.9bn in spending (up 3.31% year on year).

Known as pretty unstable in recent years, the markets of Australia and New Zealand performed well in April. Australian visitors grew by 2.5% to 75,202. Arrivals from New Zealand grew by 6.24% to 10,350. Combined spending by Australian and New Zealand visitors totalled B6.71bn.

Positive dynamics was also recorded in the markets of North America. US visitors increased by 5.71% to 94,254. Arrivals from Canada were up 1.26% to 23,182. Combined spending by US and Canadian citizens totalled B8.85bn.

Middle East as a combined source market continued to show healthy appetite for what Thailand has to offer with 12.74% growth in visitor arrivals for the month of April to 57,174, and an increase in spending of 17.66% over the month to B5.12bn.

Specifically targeted by Thai tourism authorities, Israel led the pack with 73.8% growth in arrivals (to 20,656) and 77.27% growth in revenue (to B2bn). (See “New tourism segment from Israel – first time ‘kosher’ event in Pattaya”, click here.)

Overall this year the Ministry of Tourism & Sports expects 41mn arrivals, generating B2.2 tillion in revenue. The total for January-April stands at 13.99mn arrivals (up 2.11% year on year) and B737.91bn in spending (up 1.15% year on year).

 

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