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Arrivals up 24.4% to 8.2m

Amid positive signs of a tourism revival,international tourist arrivals in the first five months of this year rose 24.36% to 8.2 million, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

It will be possible for the agency to revise up its 2011 arrivals target to 16.8 million from 15.5 million as tourism has bright prospects for the rest of the year,said TAT governor Surapol Sawetseranee.

“Thailand is still popular among tourists in its target countries such as the United States, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Japan.In the coming high season, we will seriously promote Thailand in these locations to spur demand,” he said.

Tourism is expected to generate revenue of about 600 billion baht this year.

The TAT set a budget of 300 million baht for marketing communications and promotion locally and internationally for the 2012 fiscal year.

“Many people are concerned about a re-emergence of serious political situations after the election. However, we strongly believe that we can deal with these problems if they really happen,”Mr Surapol said.

Sugree Sithivanich, the TAT’s executive director for advertising and public relations, said it planned to increase the proportion of European first-time visitors from 40% to 50% this year because they will become repeat tourists. Key markets are the UK, Germany and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Most Asian tourists in Thailand are repeat visitors and like shopping in popular destinations such as Chiang Mai,Phuket and Bangkok.

At home, the TAT will focus on families,young people and conservative groups as it wants to promote travel as part of these people’s lives.

Key destinations are Pai (Mae Hong Son), Koh Samui, Nan and Chiang Khan (Loei).

The TAT has also upgraded its 1672 call centre with an online channel via, which allows tourists to communicate with staff through video calls and live chats.

Smartphone also users can download mobile applications to get more information.

Source: Bangkok Post

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