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TCT adds a note of caution on arrivals

TCT president, Piyaman Tejapaibul, said tourist arrivals had reached 5.36 million visits in the first quarter of the year compared with 4.66 million visits during the same period last year.

Concerns focus on the Middle East and Japan, but there are also worries that the recent flooding in South Thailand might damage prospects in the short-term.

During the first quarter the top supply region was Asia representing 50% of all arrivals to Thailand. Malaysia led the way mainly due to overland travel, which has little financial value for major tourist destinations across the country. Other strong performers were China, Japan, and Korea.

Two other neighbouring source markets, Cambodia and Laos, performed well, but they are not considered important markets for tour operators and hotels.

Tourist arrivals from Europe accounted for 34% of all arrivals. Russia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, eastern Europe and France all showed a growth rate exceeding 15%.

European tourists stay longer in the country with an average length of stay of 14.54 days and spend an average of Bt3,753.57 per day. However, South Asian visitors spend more at Bt4,596.85, but stay for fewer days, 6.24 on average.

The TCT president admitted there were negative influences. The global economy did not recover as fast as anticipated; oil prices were volatile and political problems in the Middle East and north and west Africa could reduce travel demand from emerging markets.

Natural disasters such as the catastrophe in Japan and floods in South of Thailand may reduce travel demand. TCT estimates the growth could decline to around 5% to 8% giving the country 16.73 million to 17.21 million visits and an estimated revenue of Bt6.22 billion to Bt6.40 in tourist receipts.

Domestic tourism should grow by 5% to 95.23 million trips from 90.7 million trips in 2010 and generate Bt3 billion in tourism revenue.

TCT earlier forecast tourist arrivals this year would grow by 8% to 10% to reach 17.01 million to 17.32 million visits and domestic trips would reach 97 million up 7% over 2010.

All of TCT financial estimates are based on Ministry of Tourism and Sports data on length of stay and daily spending, which in turn is derived from field surveys using teams of students who interview tourists usually at the airport. The surveys are supposed to be conducted annually.

Source: TTR Weekly

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