Thailand tourism arrivals, spending drop for the first time in years

Thailand Tourism Arrivals, Spending Drop For The First Time In Years

Thailand for the first time since 2014 – the year of the latest military coup – is faced with a rare drop in tourism arrivals and tourism spending, according to the latest statistic by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The number of visitors fell 0.69 per cent from a year ago to around 3.5 million in March 2019, while foreign tourism receipts slid 1.3 per cent to 184.5 billion baht ($5.8 billion). These figures together with February arrivals, which were up only 0.17 per cent and also saw a decline in spending of 0.84 per cent, are signaling that the consistent rise of tourism numbers might have stalled for the country.

The March dip has been caused by partly significantly fewer arrivals from Europe, the Americas and Australia and New Zealand, while there were also fewer arrivals from China. Arrivals from the two most important source countries for European tourists, Germany and UK, dropped 10.47 per cent and 9.63 per cent, respectively. Russian arrivals were down 1.3 per cent, and the number of Australian visitors fell by 14.06 per cent. Arrivals from the Middle East slumped by 22.26 per cent in the month, while visitor numbers from China, Thailand’s biggest feeder market, dropped by 1.7 per cent in March after slumping 12.3 per cent in February.

If the trend continues and tourism numbers do indeed have reached their peak, it could become a threat for Thailand’s economy. Tourism is critical for Thailand and on some measures accounts for a fifth of GDP, prompting the military government to take steps such as waiving visa fees to woo travelers.

Analysts say that the reasons for the weak season were political gridlock in the country following a messy general election on March 24, the US-China trade war, a strong baht (despite a slight weakening in the past three months) and a sluggish Chinese economy.

In addition, rising prices for goods and services that have partly reached first-world levels in Bangkok and other tourism regions, low service and safety standards, polluted and congested beaches, as well as tourism scams and the dual-pricing systems for foreigners are contributing to the trend that tourists to Southeast Asia are starting to prefer other countries such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines over Thailand to spend their holidays.

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Thailand for the first time since 2014 – the year of the latest military coup – is faced with a rare drop in tourism arrivals and tourism spending, according to the latest statistic by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The number of visitors fell 0.69 per cent from a year ago to around 3.5 million in March 2019, while foreign tourism receipts slid 1.3 per cent to 184.5 billion baht ($5.8 billion). These figures together with February arrivals, which were up only 0.17 per cent and also saw a decline in spending of 0.84 per cent, are signaling that...

Thailand Tourism Arrivals, Spending Drop For The First Time In Years

Thailand for the first time since 2014 – the year of the latest military coup – is faced with a rare drop in tourism arrivals and tourism spending, according to the latest statistic by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The number of visitors fell 0.69 per cent from a year ago to around 3.5 million in March 2019, while foreign tourism receipts slid 1.3 per cent to 184.5 billion baht ($5.8 billion). These figures together with February arrivals, which were up only 0.17 per cent and also saw a decline in spending of 0.84 per cent, are signaling that the consistent rise of tourism numbers might have stalled for the country.

The March dip has been caused by partly significantly fewer arrivals from Europe, the Americas and Australia and New Zealand, while there were also fewer arrivals from China. Arrivals from the two most important source countries for European tourists, Germany and UK, dropped 10.47 per cent and 9.63 per cent, respectively. Russian arrivals were down 1.3 per cent, and the number of Australian visitors fell by 14.06 per cent. Arrivals from the Middle East slumped by 22.26 per cent in the month, while visitor numbers from China, Thailand’s biggest feeder market, dropped by 1.7 per cent in March after slumping 12.3 per cent in February.

If the trend continues and tourism numbers do indeed have reached their peak, it could become a threat for Thailand’s economy. Tourism is critical for Thailand and on some measures accounts for a fifth of GDP, prompting the military government to take steps such as waiving visa fees to woo travelers.

Analysts say that the reasons for the weak season were political gridlock in the country following a messy general election on March 24, the US-China trade war, a strong baht (despite a slight weakening in the past three months) and a sluggish Chinese economy.

In addition, rising prices for goods and services that have partly reached first-world levels in Bangkok and other tourism regions, low service and safety standards, polluted and congested beaches, as well as tourism scams and the dual-pricing systems for foreigners are contributing to the trend that tourists to Southeast Asia are starting to prefer other countries such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines over Thailand to spend their holidays.

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