Congratulations to Andrew J. Wood, who wins a give-away prize from Look East Magazine for his sharing us this story and photo this month.
Thailand set for record year.
Thailand is exceeding all previous tourism arrival predictions despite the recent bombing incident in the capital, according to recent reports. The official target of 28.8 million inbound tourists this year is expected to exceed 30 million; a record.
In their Hotel Trends Q2 2015, CBRE said Thailand saw a strong demand for hotels from local and foreign buyers. With a weaker baht, the report claims, the tourism market continued to recover strongly with total arrivals up 30% on last year. Arrivals from China are growing significantly and tourists from this market now account for 28% of total visitors. Bangkok is benefitting in particular from more short-break and independent visitors from China.
The report also suggests that strong increases in visitor arrivals have continued to push up occupancy in Bangkok to 70% in Q2 2015, a huge improvement on the 50% recorded in the same period last year. ADR and RevPAR grew slightly, the report said.
“Thailand Travel Grows 30%” runs the banner in TTR Weekly’s latest report, citing international tourist arrivals to Thailand improved 30.93%, January to July 2015, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ data. The data showed the country attracted 17,504,204 international visits during the first seven months of 2015 up from 13,368,979 visits during the same period last year.
At the recent “Tourism Trends in Thailand” seminar at Bangkok’s Assumption University, experts suggested that inbound tourism arrivals would reach 30-31 million for 2015. Despite the fallout from the Bangkok blast, The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) is also feeling bullish enough to revise up its expected forecast from 28.8 million to 30 million inbound tourists this year.
TCT president Ittirit Kinglake said 8.1 million international tourists are expected to visit in the 4th quarter, up 9% from the same period last year. “The Erawan bomb blast in Bangkok last month hit the sector but only for a short time,” he said. “This will not affect the industry during the coming high season.”
Reports also show that since the downturn in Russian tourists, due to the weakened ruble, the China market has edged even further ahead as the dominant tourist market in Thailand. Eight million Chinese visitors are expected this year.
Thailand lost about 1.3 million global tourists due to the bomb blast but has bounced back quickly. Hong Kong for instance is set to withdraw its travel warning as of this writing. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has invited celebrities from Hong Kong and mainland China to visit the Erawan Shine to promote confidence in the city. Finally, the UNWTO reported that Asia and the Pacific recorded a 5% increase in international arrivals in the first half of the year.
(Editor’s Note: Andrew J. Wood is past president of SKAL International and a Thai Hospitality GM of the Year awardee)