Tourism numbers in Thailand close to stagnation

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Tourism Numbers In Thailand Close To Stagnation

Thailand has attracted 21.08 million tourists in the first half of 2019, marking a meager 0.81 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the country’s outgoing tourism and sports minister Weerasak Kowsurat.

He added that the number of arrivals was on a rise for the first four months, then dropped by 1.03 per cent in May before picking up again in June and July. The number of arrivals from ASEAN countries matched those from China, while the number of arrivals from South Asia, mainly India and Nepal, also rose. Arrivals from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan also showed “good growth,” he said.

On the other hand, the numbers of visitors from other important source markets declined significantly in the period, namely Europe (-11 per cent), Australia and New Zealand (-13.3 per cent) and the Middle East (-51 per cent). The US and Russia were also down about 2.2 and 2.8 per cent, respectively.

“The Thai tourism industry has a foundation that is solid enough to cater to many uncontrolled risks, such as a strong baht, which has made things more expensive,” Weerasak said.

He, however, added that “we should expand the structure of the Thailand tourism market, covering more markets and destinations, as well as those who benefit from the sector.”

Plans are to launch new campaigns to attract travelers from different provinces of China as well as from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as to offer promotions for niche travelers, such as family groups, as well as people who love sports and adventure, and those who are health conscious.

Meanwhile, Thailand seems to face rising competition from other Southeast Asian countries in terms of tourism.

Last year, Vietnam received 15.5 million international tourists, an increase of 19.9 percent over 2017, while the number increased further by 7.5 per cent to hit 8.5 million in the first half of 2019.

Vietnam, together with its neighbours Cambodia and Vietnam, is also planning to develop the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area for tourism to spur socio-economic development in the area.

Myanmar, which just eased some visa restrictions to attract more Western tourists as per October 2019, is also looking to capitalise on a recent tourism rebound and stimulate more investment in the sector. Back in May, the first branch of the Myanma Tourism Bank opened in Yangon as the country’s first bank dedicated to supporting the tourism and hospitality sector.

Backed by the Myanmar Tourism Federation, the bank has an initial capitalisation of $14.5 million, with funding provided by the lender’s 26 shareholders, all of which are from the local tourism industry. The bank will provide low-cost, long-term loans to the tourism sector, particularly to the small- to medium-scale segment.

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Thailand has attracted 21.08 million tourists in the first half of 2019, marking a meager 0.81 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the country’s outgoing tourism and sports minister Weerasak Kowsurat. He added that the number of arrivals was on a rise for the first four months, then dropped by 1.03 per cent in May before picking up again in June and July. The number of arrivals from ASEAN countries matched those from China, while the number of arrivals from South Asia, mainly India and Nepal, also rose. Arrivals from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan also showed "good growth," he...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tourism Numbers In Thailand Close To Stagnation

Thailand has attracted 21.08 million tourists in the first half of 2019, marking a meager 0.81 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the country’s outgoing tourism and sports minister Weerasak Kowsurat.

He added that the number of arrivals was on a rise for the first four months, then dropped by 1.03 per cent in May before picking up again in June and July. The number of arrivals from ASEAN countries matched those from China, while the number of arrivals from South Asia, mainly India and Nepal, also rose. Arrivals from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan also showed “good growth,” he said.

On the other hand, the numbers of visitors from other important source markets declined significantly in the period, namely Europe (-11 per cent), Australia and New Zealand (-13.3 per cent) and the Middle East (-51 per cent). The US and Russia were also down about 2.2 and 2.8 per cent, respectively.

“The Thai tourism industry has a foundation that is solid enough to cater to many uncontrolled risks, such as a strong baht, which has made things more expensive,” Weerasak said.

He, however, added that “we should expand the structure of the Thailand tourism market, covering more markets and destinations, as well as those who benefit from the sector.”

Plans are to launch new campaigns to attract travelers from different provinces of China as well as from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as to offer promotions for niche travelers, such as family groups, as well as people who love sports and adventure, and those who are health conscious.

Meanwhile, Thailand seems to face rising competition from other Southeast Asian countries in terms of tourism.

Last year, Vietnam received 15.5 million international tourists, an increase of 19.9 percent over 2017, while the number increased further by 7.5 per cent to hit 8.5 million in the first half of 2019.

Vietnam, together with its neighbours Cambodia and Vietnam, is also planning to develop the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area for tourism to spur socio-economic development in the area.

Myanmar, which just eased some visa restrictions to attract more Western tourists as per October 2019, is also looking to capitalise on a recent tourism rebound and stimulate more investment in the sector. Back in May, the first branch of the Myanma Tourism Bank opened in Yangon as the country’s first bank dedicated to supporting the tourism and hospitality sector.

Backed by the Myanmar Tourism Federation, the bank has an initial capitalisation of $14.5 million, with funding provided by the lender’s 26 shareholders, all of which are from the local tourism industry. The bank will provide low-cost, long-term loans to the tourism sector, particularly to the small- to medium-scale segment.

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