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 September 06, 2000
Thailand: Visitor Arrivals Reach 4.64 Million In First Six Months

 International visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 4,639,078 during January-June 2000, a significant increase of 11.17% over the same period of 1999. Arrivals from major markets included East Asia (2,815,143), Europe (1,082,575), America (289,295), South Asia (161,911), Oceania (171,901), Middle East (81,276) and Africa (36,977). Visitor arrivals increased from all countries except Brazil, Argentina, Austria and Italy which recorded slight declines. Said Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Pradech Phayakvichien, "This major growth is continuing to provide a huge injection of foreign exchange for Thailand and keeping millions of Thais working. There is little doubt that tourism continues to play a major role in supporting the social and economic stability of Thailand."February recorded the largest number of international visitor arrivals (879,526), up 12.57% over the same month of 1999.

Also during the January-June 2000 period, female visitor arrivals continued their long-standing higher growth trend of 12.55%, in line with the major policy objective of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to attract more women travellers to Thailand.

Though male visitors still comprise a higher share of 60% of the market, their percentage growth rate during this period was 10%. Both first-time and repeat visitors reported major increases of 12% and 9.8%, respectively. First-timers comprised 56.41% of the total. There was also a huge growth of 15.8% in non-group travellers. Most international visitors to Thailand were aged between 25-34 (26.13%) and 35-44 (24.03%) years while visitors between 15-24 showed the highest growth of 14.22%.

Although comprising only a small share of the overall number of arrivals, business travellers and convention delegates recorded a healthy growth of 19.98% and 30.34%. The average length of stay was 8 days. Most international visitors were middle-class people while housewives and students showed much higher growth of 30.75% and 35.33% respectively.

On the outbound front, the figures also show that the number of Thais travelling overseas totalled 983,670 during January-June 2000, an increase of 16.55% over the same period of 1999. The average length of stay of outgoing Thais during this period was 11.49 days.

In the same period, the number of foreign expatriates living in Thailand travelling overseas totalled 18,802, a sharp increase of 19.25%.