Tourist Arrivals Increase by 23.5% in Q1

russian tourists beachAccording to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and data only recently released by the Department of Tourism, more than 7.8 million foreign tourists visited Thailand in the first three months of 2015.
This equals a year-on-year increase of 16.30% in January, 29.60% in February, and 25.50% in March.

NNT reports today:

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has announced that there was a 23.5% increase, or 7.8 million people, in tourist arrivals in Thailand during the first quarter [of] this year.

But while Thailand’s starry-eyed tourism officials will now obviously slap themselves on the back – if you look at the fine-print details things don’t always look quite as bright as they seem.

Granted, tourist arrivals from East Asia (most notably China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan), South Asia and the Middle East have again increased substantially in the first three months of 2015. But – and here come the bad news – the number of traditionally high-spending visitors from Europe has overall continued to decrease year-on-year.
In January 2015 only, the number of European visitors (including Russians) dropped by a staggering 14,32%. This downward trend continued in February, with tourist arrivals from Europe decreasing by 17.54% year-on-year. In March, the number of European visitors continued to drop by 15.95% year-on-year.

To be fair, these losses can mostly be blamed on the continued depreciation of the Russian ruble and the decreasing number of tourist arrivals from Russia. Only the number of Russian visitors dropped by a whopping 59.78% from 207.241 visitors in March 2014 to a mere 83.352 in March this year.
On the other hand, the number of tourist arrivals from some European countries, most notably Germany and the United Kingdom, not only remained stable but even increased in March this year. Believe it or not, the number of German visitors in March (89.918) even outnumbered tourist arrivals from Russia (83.352), which number was only slightly higher than that of arrivals from the United Kingdom (83.167).

But while the “Russian invasion” of the last 10 years has obviously come to an end, at least for the time being, the “Chinese invasion” of the last few years appears to be only in its fledgling stages.
As in the previous years, China with 679.660 visitors was once again the biggest tourism source market in March, with Chinese visitors accounting for 26.84% (!) of all arrivals.
Yes, even it Pattaya it seems that travel agents and restaurant owners may soon have to change their Cyrillic script signboards and menus for such bearing Chinese letters …

Here are the top 10 tourism source markets for March 2015:

1. China (679.660, 26.84%)
2. Malaysia (292.081, 11.53%)
3. Japan (117.565, 4.64%)
4. Korea (99.697, 3.94%)
5. Germany (89.918, 3.55%)
6. Russia (83.352, 3.29%)
7. United Kingdom (83.167, 3.28%)
8. India (78.014. 3.08%)
9. Singapore (76.332, 3.01%)
10. USA (73.369, 2.90%)

And here are PDF files of the complete visitor statistics for January, February and March 2015:

Source: Department of Tourism

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