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Tourist numbers up, but concerns rise

BANGKOK: Despite rising tourist numbers and increasing revenue, the tourism sector remains worried by economic problems, fierce competition and the fact the increase in visitors is concentrated in some areas only, according to a new survey.

By Bangkok Post

Sunday 26 June 2016, 09:00AM

Although tourist numbers continue to rise overall, the tourism sector is worried because individual spending by visitors is down, according to a survey. Photo: TAT

Although tourist numbers continue to rise overall, the tourism sector is worried because individual spending by visitors is down, according to a survey. Photo: TAT

The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Chulalongkorn University on Tuesday (June 21) reported results from their survey of 600 tourism-related business operators, 350 foreign tourists and 350 Thai tourists in the second quarter of this year.

The survey found the tourist sector had slightly more confidence in the second quarter compared with the first three months, but the outlook for the third quarter, often called the tourism “low season”, was not as certain.

The lower confidence resulted from fierce competition among business operators and economic problems that meant individual tourists were spending less, TCT president Ittirith Kinglake said.

Based on the survey, the number of visitors to Thailand should reach 33.87 million this year, up 13.35 per cent on last year, and revenue from foreign tourists is estimated at B1.71 trillion, up by 17.83%.

However, operators’ confidence would not rise accordingly, Mr Ittirith said, adding that, in addition to economic concerns and fierce competition, the increase in visitors is occurring only in some groups of tourists, notably the Chinese.

In the third quarter of this year, the number of visitors from Asean should rise by 7% year-on-year to 2.09 million, those from East Asia by 26% to 3.97 million and those from Europe by 3.4% to 1.11 million, he said.

The number of Chinese visitors was expected to increase by 27% to 2.68 million in the third quarter. Their numbers should exceed 10 million for the first time this year, Mr Ittirith said. The figure was 8.1 million last year.

The survey also found that foreign tourists were less satisfied with their visits to Thailand, mainly due to poor transport services. Thai tourism operators and local tourists shared the same view, Mr Ittirith said.

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Foreign tourists wanted lower fares, more domestic flights, better local transport, transport alternatives like passenger boats, better quality destinations and a better standard of service.

The main competitors for tourists' dollars were seen as Hong Kong, Laos and Malaysia.

Most surveyed foreign tourists were repeat visitors. They came to Thailand because of its beautiful tourist attractions, culture, religion, food and because it gave value for money.

The survey also found that more Thai people intended to travel in the third quarter due to long holidays in July and August, but 47% of the Thai respondents said they would spend less on their vacations, while 40% said they would spend about the same amount as before.

Thai tourists wanted cleanliness, a good standard of service and convenient transport. For outbound Thai tourists, Korea and Laos were their main destinations.


Read original story here.



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