Believe it or not: According to the Thai tourism ministry, more than 12 million foreign tourists, including 3.3 million Chinese, have visited Thailand from January to May this year – an alleged 24.7% increase from the same period last year.
Over 12 million international travellers came to Thailand from January through May this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The number rose 24.7% from the same period of 2014 (…)
The ministry reported that most of the travellers were from China, led with 3.3 million arrivals. They were followed by Malaysia with 1.4 million, Japan with 575,186, South Korea with 546,520, and Laos with 459,225.
Last month, approximately 2.3 million tourists visited the country, a year-on-year rise of 38.2%.
Unfortunately, the Department of Tourism hasn’t made any detailed statistics available yet for the months of April and May, so we can neither “verify” the quoted numbers nor look into further details, like the number of non-Asian tourist arrivals, at this point.
But other than many critics on web boards we don’t think that Thai tourism officials deliberately “fake” the number of foreign arrivals. The problem we think is not the number of tourists but their profile – where they come from and how much they spend per person (and on what), whether they travel in tour groups or individually etc.
Chinese, Japanese, Koreans … where are the Europeans? Other than bus loads of Chinese tourists who stay just a day or two, and perhaps a few Koreans, the reported new “tourism boom” has so far remained invisible at least in Pattaya (allegedly the fourth most visited destination this year).