Thailand as a whole saw a marginal 2 per cent rise in international arrivals, compared with the same month of 2011.
A total of 230,397 arrivals were recorded at Phuket International Airport in February, a drop of 0.77 per cent.
Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed 1,186,837 tourists (a rise of 3.54 per cent), while the number coming through the Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border dropped 17.1 per cent to 103,474, and the number coming through the Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border fell to 41,894, a drop of 7.06 per cent.
The brightest spot was the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, which saw an increase of 26.77 per cent to 78,783.
The overall slow rise last month pulled the accumulated growth for the year down from 7.65 per cent in January to 4.83 per cent for the first two months combined.
Most sources of visitors recorded improvements, but East Asia figures were down by 2.42 per cent to 898,268 trips, and the Middle East down by 3.68 per cent to 44,152.
The ministry theorised that declines from China (-2.82 per cent), Hong Kong (-33.92 per cent) and Taiwan (-28.19 per cent) were due to travel warnings in January, which had a spillover effect on February’s performance.
On January 13, the US Embassy in Bangkok issued a travel alert “that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future”. Twenty other nations followed suit.
In mid-February a number of bomb blasts in Bangkok, followed by the arrests of half a dozen Iranian nationals, indicated that US intelligence had been very accurate.
Besides China, two other large suppliers recorded declines in February. They were Malaysia (-14.02 per cent) and Russia (-4.71 per cent).
– TTR Weekly