15 Jun 2012
BANGKOK, 15 June 2012: The Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ data on tourist arrivals for May indicates security issues, mainly in the deep south following a car bomb attack in Hat Yai, 31 March, are still impacting on travel from Malaysia.
During May, arrivals from Malaysia dropped 16.42%, down to 176,800 compared to the same month in 2011. In April, arrivals from Malaysia plunged 22.18%.
China took Malaysia’s place as the top tourist supplier to Thailand since April. In May alone, arrivals from China reached185,886, growing 37.87%.
Overall, Thailand received 1,523,782 tourists in May, up 8.27%. Meanwhile, from January to May, visits reached 8,871,930, up 7.27%.
Looking at arrivals by regions, there were improvements in all regions. The largest market East Asia (57.16% share) that includes ASEAN posted the smallest growth, +0.59% supplying 870,978 tourists.
Within the region, drops were monitored in Malaysia (-16.42%, 176,800); Laos (-19.44%, 66,962) and Korea (-8.85%, 72,655).
However, there was a substantial increase of 15.88% in Japanese tourists compared to May 2011 (Japan suffered a massive tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 stalling outbound travel for months).
Despite the economic problems, arrivals from Europe and the Americas grew over the same month last year at 27.27% (296,670) and 23.88% (84,579) respectively.
All identified countries recorded double digits growth with the exceptions of Finland, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden. In Europe, Russia posted the strongest growth, +52.94% (64,212), while in the Americas, arrivals from Argentina was almost double, +96.16% (1,532).
Arrivals from South Asia and Oceania improved substantially, +14.44% (137,827) and +14.18% (76,242) respectively. In May, a 15% growth of Indian tourists sent it up to the third of the Top 10 ranking.
Middle East market grew marginally, +3.27% (44,714), while Africa surged 32.81% (12,772)
In April, Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed 1,021,246 tourists (+14.82%) followed by Phuket Airport, 152,540 (+21.57%); Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla province, 82,701 (-24.92%); First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, 62,785 (-12.96%) and the Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border in Srakaew province, 42,693 (+1.59%).
As for the Thai outbound travel, the Immigration Bureau reported 696,544 trips in May, a dip of 3.48%. Higher cost of living contributed to the drop despite a few long holidays in the month
There were 290,130 (-15.26%) outbound trips through Suvarnabhumi Airport followed by the Aranyaprathet checkpoint, 143,963 (+37.65%); Sadao checkpoint, 60,259 (-5.19%); First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint, 31,371 (-23.92%) and Sungai Kolok on Thai-Malaysian border in Narathiwat, 230,268 (+11.01%).
The data was collected by the Immigration Bureau from all checkpoints – air, land and sea and is preliminary data subject to review.